Concern over Greenfield drug & alcohol rehab center

GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The state has given a Springfield based non-profit the green light to open a drug and alcohol detox facility in Greenfield and the Greenfield Planning Board unanimously awarded the permits to begin construction.

Not all residents in the area are happy. Their concerns range from lower property values, to quality of life issues. People say they recognize Franklin County’s drug abuse problem, but don’t know if a residential neighborhood is the place for this facility.

The old Lunt Silversmith Building has been abandoned for years. Located on Federal Street, it sits between a little league baseball field and residential homes.

“They are going to be breaking into people’s homes and everything. It’s not a good thing. Greenfield needs one, but not in a residential area. There’s kids playing on these fields all summer long,” said Wendy Baker, who lives across the street.

Behavioral Health Network wants to redevelop the property as a voluntary 64-bed drug and alcohol detox center to serve mostly Franklin County addicts.

“They are supervised while they are there. It’s whether or not they intend to stay for the length of their supervision that makes it voluntary and makes them able to leave,” said Roxann Wedegartner, the Chairwoman of the Greenfield Planning Board.

“We want the best for our community and that includes people in recovery making the decision to get sober. I want the best for them. I don’t know that this is the best for them and I don’t know if it’s the best for us,” said Kathy Winslow, who lives across the street from the Lunt factory.

On Wednesday, men in white coats wearing masks were walking the property and using a crane to dig. Soil contaminated with lead and other chemicals in the silver plating process has been discovered in the dirt beneath the old Lunt factory. It’s being dug up and replaced with new soil. The samples are being analyzed by the Environmental Protection Agency. Wing Chau of the EPA told 22News the groundwater is contaminated, but because no one in the area uses a well, they are same. The EPA needs until late August to remove the contaminated soil and 55-gallon drums of chemicals that still remain in the old factory.

Behavioral Health Network hopes to be ready to open the detox facility by the end of the Fall.

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