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Don’t be fearful of the unknown

The unknown is something I believe most of us agree can be fearful. Whether it’s something as serious as “the great beyond” or not quite as serious, such as starting a new job, we all have a level of fear when it comes to something we do not understand completely.

That’s also the case when new neighbors come into a community. We ask “who are these people? Where are they from? I hope they don’t cause any problems.” But most of the time the new neighbors are accepted and life moves on.

The Clear Creek Community could possibly be getting some new neighbors if a new addiction treatment facility is allowed to move into a residential area on property located on County Road 362. To say Stonewater Addiction Recovery Center was not greeted with open arms during Monday night’s planning commission meeting is an understatement.

The facility operators were seeking a recommendation from the commission before the proposal goes before the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors.

About a half dozen residents who claim to live near the proposed facility voiced opposition to the project, citing concerns over safety, land values and one gentleman even said his grandchildren wouldn’t be able to come visit him because of the facility out of concern for their safety.

The facility that will be geared toward 12-17 year old males will be situated on 60-plus acres in a four-bedroom home Trammel Wells sold to the operators, that will house up to 16 clients at a time.

The facility operators assured those who were in attendance at Monday night’s four-hour long meeting that the clients would be vetted and screened before being selected into the program for an up to 90-day stay. There’s no doubt that the $22,000 per month fee to be in the program will target the upper crust of society.

The center operators, however, said there would be no fences on the grounds of the facility because it would hinder the process of recovery for clients who might feel trapped while living there. Cameras and a staff of 12 would monitor the clients.

I can understand the concerns of residents who live directly near the proposed facility, but I also know that a facility like this is much needed. There are not enough facilities in our community for the  targeted age group and I wonder how many individuals who are dealing with addiction today in their 20s, 30s and older could have sought treatment earlier in life with such a facility in our area.

My Mom taught me at an early age to “not worry until you have something to worry about.” And as a Christian, I believe that we should help those who need the most help.

All of this is easy for me to say because I don’t live in the community where this facility would be located, but I believe the operators deserve a chance to alleviate the fears of the unknown.

Rob Sigler is managing editor of The Oxford
EAGLE. Contact him at rob.sigler@oxfordeagle.com.