New opioid rehab center plans has Westland residents on edge

Just as school is about to start at Edison Elementary, down the street renovation begins on a new opioid rehab center at Ford and Wildwood. 

"I'm a little concerned now because I do have two kids that go here myself and my friend has a daughter who goes here," said Tana Bersano. "The fact is, that's just way too close for me."

Bersano is not the only one concerned. Neighbors and business owners say it's not the just the school where kids are learning - but the park where they're playing, the rink where they're skating, the gym where they're swimming. All of it is right next to the rehab center. It is planned to be a residential recovery center with more than 30 beds for patients.

It was approved, neighbors say, without their knowledge.

"I knew nothing about it; we knew nothing about it," said Kim Ingraham. "My main concern is the school that's right down the block."

In the space that was the Old Montana Steakhouse has been approved as an opioid residential facility "fully staffed day and night 24/7," said Mohamed Ayoub.

Ayoub, the planning director, says notice of the hearings was properly posted but added maybe they should have done a better job on such a controversial issue.

The planning director says he understands the concerns of the residents, and he's hoping to meet with them along with the doctor to discuss what this facility is all about.

"I sympathize with the residents and the concerns that are voiced are valid," said Ayoub. "I think we as a city, along with the doctor, need to do a better job of educating the community on what this facility is."

Neighbors are asking why they couldn't have found another location where they won't be as worried about addicts - and potentially drugs - down the street from so many children.

"I know people need treatment - I know our city does need this, we need this facility - not at a school, a playground, baseball fields," said Ingraham.

 "There's a need for it - but they don't need to put it near all these kids," said Jeff Sullivan. "There's a school down the street, a skating rink next door, a fitness center here. We don't need it."

And some - are looking into legal action - to stop it.

"If the council won't look out for the safety of the children - the people of this community will," said George Sawaya.