Plans to turn the former Golden Acres Nursing Home into a recovery clinic for opioid addiction in the works.
Lorain County commissioners have applied for $500,000 in state funding for the project, which would cover the majority of the $850,000 estimated cost.
That money would be allocated for building improvements such as roofing, elevator, and heating and air conditioning repairs at the building on North Ridge Road in Amherst Township.
If the state funding comes through, commissioners have said approximately $200,000 from the county can also be put toward the new center, which would be called Recovery-One Lorain County.
The LCADA Way, Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board of Lorain County, Lorain County Board of Mental Health, Nord Family Foundation, and commissioners have formed a partnership in the endeavor.
However, commissioner Matt Lundy said participation from the Nord Family Foundation is contingent on the state funding being approved.
“We realize this is a big ask,” he said. “Basically, there’s a state capital bill that provides funding for community projects. Nord’s pledge depends on the state money and their board approving putting money into the project. I think that is going to come up at their monthly meeting.”
Golden Acres closed in late 2015 and its few remaining residents were moved to other facilities.
The building was constructed in 1931, serving as a tuberculosis clinic until becoming the county nursing home in the early 1960s.
The Wellington police started a Local Initiative Networking Compassion program in 2016. It allows addicts to seek help without fear of being arrested. Instead, police help them find placement in rehabilitation centers throughout the country.
Because Lorain County doesn’t have a full addiction recovery center, those participants have been placed as far away as Arizona and Florida.
Wellington police chief Tim Barfield said his department has had talks with those behind planning at Golden Acres and the new center could potentially be somewhere LINC participants are placed.
“If this gets up and running, I’ve heard it’s going to take people from Lorain and Cuyahoga counties,” he said. “The space will get used pretty quick, but it’s another resource. There’s nothing in Lorain County right now and, to be honest, not a lot in Ohio. Having something this close would be a huge help.”
Elaine Georgas, executive director of the Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board of Lorain County, said the extent of the new center’s functions are still being worked out as far as the number of beds that will be available and whether both inpatient and outpatient treatment will be offered.
“There’s a lot of space in that building that we can put to good use,” she said. “We toured the facility about a year ago. I have tons of ideas but our board is only one partner in this. The potential and continuous need is there, but now we have to work with the realities of costs and logistics.”
The continuous need has manifested itself in hundreds of overdose deaths in the county since 2012. Lundy said the time has come for a more concentrated effort in addressing the senseless loss of life.
“We need to centralize our efforts and get folks on the same page,” he said. “The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. This Recovery-One center fits well into this crisis. The building isn’t in disrepair and we want to make sure it’s stabilized for the long term. We want the make sure its also a cost effective building so when groups do get in there, they’re not stuck with huge utility bills.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.