Methadone Clinic Has Support, Discomfort
People battling addiction will soon have a place to go locally with a methadone clinic coming to the city of Dunkirk. Acacia Network will be moving into 303 Main St. and have also purchased 305 Main St. should expansion be needed. The facility will see over $1 million in renovation work and at least 30 additional jobs coming to the area.
“It’s something that is needed,” Mayor Wilfred Rosas told the OBSERVER this week. “It’s going to help with addiction in the area, take over a vacant building and bring new jobs with benefit packages to the city.”
Rosas cited the desperate need of the facility by pointing to the New York state Department of Health’s 2019 Opiod Annual Report. In it, Chautauqua ranked high in the list of most burdened areas within the state.
Second Ward Councilman Marty Bamonto agrees with this sentiment insisting as well on its need in the area. He also mentioned the benefit it will bring to the city in the form of revitalizing the building and creating jobs.
“It’s a good spot for it. With The Chautauqua Center around the corner that part of town is starting to get spruced up,” Bamonto said. “I hope that these facilities will bring spinoff offices for other doctors and clinics in the area.”
Fourth Ward Councilwoman Nancy Nichols feels a bit differently. Though she agrees the need is there, she was disappointed that the council wasn’t included in the decision.
“We feel it should have been ran through us,” Nichols commented.
Nichols also remained unsure on the location citing that it being placed on a main throughfare through the city may turn off visitors to the city if they see that coming off of the state Thruway. “The problem is where do we put it that everyone is happy?” Nichols asked. “Could they have perhaps gotten space at Brooks Hospital? Would that have been better?”
Nichols also brought up concerns of lost tax revenue to the city on that property. With Acacia network, the company in charge of the new facility being a non-profit she’s wondering how taxpayers will take it.
However. according to Rosas he doesn’t believe there’s going to be a loss of tax revenue as the people going to the clinic will be charged for services, therefore there will be tax collected. So that may not be an issue after all.
Councilman-at-large Paul VanDenVouver was quite upset with the issue, mostly because of what he feels is the lack of correspondence with Common Council over this.
“The first time I saw it was on the front page of the paper,” VanDenVouver stated. “Maybe it’s needed, I don’t know, but I’m not in favor of it in the city at all. This is a typical Mayor Rosas move. No council discussion, nothing.”
VanDenVouver also stated that “the people who are running it contributed to his (Rosas’) election campaign, so I’m not surprised.”
When questioned on that comment, Rosas stated that comment is not true, “Neither Acacia Network or Hispanics United contributed to my campaign and that has no bearing on the situation. Anyone can look at my campaign site and see all the donations, they’re a matter of public record.”