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CHD eyes Old Lyman Road site for group accommodation

SOUTH HADLEY – A currently vacant plot on Old Lyman Road may be the location of an educational home for people recovering from addiction, according to the Center for Human Development

The proposed residential facility, which will be situated Large and if approved , can serve up to 16 people simultaneously recovering from substance abuse and co-occurring mental disorders.

The need for such a facility is "enormous", according to Jim Goodwin, president and CEO of Center for Human Development (CHD), a social services organization based in Springfield.

"The demand is extreme and there is a lot going on in the area," Goodwin said. "We expect the program to be almost immediate because most addiction programs are currently in place."

CHD is currently in the application process for obtaining approval to build the facility from 6,000 to 8,000 square feet.

The City Planning Office held a public hearing on the project on February 25 at 7:00 pm in the Select Board of the City Hall.

CHD operates three similar facilities in Pioneer Valley, including Grace House at Northampton, Two Rivers at Greenfield and Goodwin House at Chicopee.

The recovery program usually lasts about 90 days and is often the next step for people to have recently completed the detox and related clinical services.

While detox focuses on the physiological factors of addiction, Goodwin said the recovery center wants to promote psychological and attitude changes that help residents achieve long-term relapse prevention by working with psychiatric staff and other clinicians, as well as external services.

Residents also learn about job placement, housing, professional skills and other ways to support themselves when leaving the program.

"As soon as someone enters the door," said Goodwin, "are you already planning to leave with the goal: & How will your life be different if you leave this facility?"

The South Hadley facility will be strictly for adults, as opposed to Grace House and Two Rivers, allowing residents to bring their children.

CHD hopes to set up a temporary facility in East Longmeadow by the end of March or the beginning of April, according to Goodwin. Activities in the temporary facility will be relocated to South Hadley once the project has been completed in approximately nine months to a year.

South Hadley was chosen for the facility as a central location between the Northampton, Springfield and Greenfield districts, as well as attributes of the chosen plot, located in a wooded area opposite a residential area.

The nearby residential area is "pretty well buffered" by the adjacent Big Y and the Ministry of Public Works, according to Goodwin.

"It's kind of a fun place that can not be integrated into a neighborhood, but at the same time it's a good place to start and it seems to be comfortable for people," he said.

Goodwin added that recovery centers "are now common in neighborhoods and for the most part directly fit."

Jacquelyn Voghel can be reached at jvoghel@gazettenet.com.

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