Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

December 4, 2013

Webb: region will get center

State senator assured area will get next one built

Kenneth Hart
The Independent

GRAYSON — State Sen. Robin Webb on Wednesday said the decision to not locate a proposed substance abuse treatment center in Grayson doesn’t mean the facility won’t be built somewhere in northeastern Kentucky.

“I’ve been assured the next one will be built in this area, and that’s the No. 1 concern in the big picture,” she said.

At the same time, though, Webb said she was puzzled as to why the plan to locate the center in Grayson — which came about after residents of the Cedar Knoll subdivision in Boyd County protested the original proposal to build it there — had apparently hit a snag.

“I’ve spent two days separating fact from fiction,” she said. “It sounds like there’s been a lack of communication on many levels.”

Grayson Mayor George Steele said Monday he had been told the Kentucky Housing Corp., one of the partners in Recovery Kentucky, had rejected the idea of building the center on C.W. Stevens Boulevard near Kmart. Steele also said he was stung by the rejection, given the degree of support local elected officials and community leaders had shown for the project.

Steele also said he’d been told by officials with Pathways Inc., which will operate the center, that the KHC wants the facility to be in Boyd County.

A KHC spokeswoman said the project partners believe Boyd would be the best location, based on factors such as need and population.

But given the fact it will serve the same basic area regardless of whether it’s located in Grayson or Boyd County, Webb said she struggled to see how a few miles could make that much of a difference.

“I feel that here in the counties of Carter, Greenup and Boyd, historically, the county lines dissolve and we as a northeast Kentucky legislative delegation have proven that for years when we act as a region, we are successful. I have a hard time with an agency of government splitting hairs as to semantics of location, when the locations are a few miles away from each other.”

Webb also said she thought the decision to locate the center in Grayson was “a win-win” because the subdivision residents didn’t want it in its original location and Grayson provided a viable option.

“I just don’t want our treatment center, wherever it is to be built, to be delayed or denied,” she said.

Webb said it was her understanding that no application for the center had been submitted to the KHC, meaning that agency had not issued any sort of official denial.

She also said it was her intent to “be part of this process and try to guide a decision that is based on what is best for all the communities, the people seeking treatment and the community mental health treatment programs.”

Once built, the center will be operated similarly to the Morehead Inspiration Center, a facility Recovery Kentucky has in that city.

KENNETH HART can be reached at khart@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2654.