Saturday, May 7, 2016

Sen. Forrester Rehab Center Plan More About Politics Than Shortfall of Treatment Beds?

State Senator Jeanie Forrester has proposed an amendment to an existing unrelated bill seeking to convert the 250-acre former Laconia State School and Lakes Region Prison  into a substance abuse treatment and recovery center. The plan calls for seeking proposals and then selling or leasing the property.
Currently, the property has numerous environmental issues and is costing the state about $300,000 a year to keep the facility mothballed. The state budget includes $2M in revenue from the sale of the property. A few years back, Laconia offered to buy the property for $2.16M , but never received an official response from the state. The site has been vacant since the prison closed in 2009 and there are no known prospective buyers.
Perhaps Sen. Forrester jumped the gun just a bit, as the City of Laconia was not really aware of her plans and according to an article in today's Laconia Daily Sun,, city officials are not supportive and flat out don't want it.
The heroin and opioid crisis cannot be overstated and there is a severe lack of adequate treatment and rehabilitation centers. It seems though that Sen. Forrester's proposal may have more to do with her political aspirations than addressing the drug epidemic. She after all voted against medicaid expansion earlier this year which makes treatment and recovery benefits available to 6,000 substance abuse sufferers.
It seems to me that if she were truly interested in addressing this need, she would have met with Laconia City officials well in advance of the proposed bill amendment instead of blindsiding them and making a political splash as she eyes the Governor's office.

3 comments:

Non-partisan ... said...

Same article.

"... the proposal originated months ago when Alex Ray, the owner and founder of the Common Man Family of Restaurants, who developed the Webster Place Recovery Center in Franklin, began eying the Laconia State School property as the site of a similar facility. Ray said he visited the site with Michael Connor, deputy commissioner of the Department of Administrative Services. "

Private said...

Is this proposal going to be a For Profit institution?

Anonymous said...

Perfect example of city government ineptitude, that is, until the NIMBY threat is raised....then, after 7 years of inaction?, while drug related overdoses and deaths skyrocket?, while our region (thanks in no small part to Mr Ray's generosity) strives to develop 62 rehab treatment beds in Franklin to handle the acknowledged multiple thousands of addicts?...THEN, only with NIMBY does the dormant machinery spring into action. Laconia is well on it's way to getting what it deserves unless they open their eyes....PS. speaking of conflict of interest, no mention of mandatory minimums?