POINT PLEASANT — A recovery home planned for Mason County and managed by Prestera was a topic of conversation at this week’s meeting of Point Pleasant City Council.
According to multiple sources, Prestera has identified a home on Main Street as a possible location. This home is said to be located near the Presbyterian Church.
Larry Jones, resident of Main Street, approached council, saying a petition had been circulating in the community to prevent the recovery home from being established in that location. After Jones, who supports the home, spoke, Geri Howard, also a resident of Main Street, said she presented a petition to neighbors regarding the recovery home to keep the area zoned R2 — a specifically zoned residential area. Howard said she did not want the zoning changed in the area.
Councilman Bob Doeffinger, who also lives on Main Street near the location, said he didn’t feel there was resistance to the idea of the recovery home, but there was resistance to rezoning the area. Doeffinger said he supported a recovery home, saying everyone is now touched by someone struggling with drug abuse. He also said the petition had nothing to do with the historic district and reiterated if council rezoned or “spot zoned” the area for the recovery home, it could “open a can of worms,” saying it does not fall under the multi-family definition of R2 zoning. Doeffinger then offered his help, and the help of council, in trying to find an area for the home where it meets the zoning code in Point Pleasant.
Although Prestera had a representative at the council meeting, they did not address council but took in the discussion about zoning.
Prior to the council meeting, Karen Yost, chief executive officer with Prestera, reached out to the Point Pleasant Register to clarify what the home will be and who it will serve.
Yost said, first and foremost, this home is not a detox center and men going into that home will have been in recovery for six to 12 months. The plan is for all of the residents to be from Mason County. The home will be staffed the majority of the day (except overnight), the same as Prestera does with other “successful” recovery houses.
“It will be a therapeutic community, which means that the men living in the house will have some responsibility for policing themselves and each other,” Yost said. “They will all seek employment in the community and will be contributing members of the community. They will take part in community self-help groups (AA/NA, etc.).”
The Presbyterian Church, which would be very near the house, already hosts AA meetings. The home would also be across the street from Prestera’s current office and near other businesses to buy goods and look for employment. This location could help, Yost said, with the challenges some people face when it comes to transportation.
“I have heard over and over that services are needed in Mason County. We need to have this house in town, if possible, or as close as possible, to take advantage of the transportation challenges that some of these folks have,’ he said. “Putting the house way outside of town is not an option if the men cannot get into town for work, services, shopping, etc.
“We have looked at many houses, and this one is the best so far because it is close to move-in ready,” Yost said. “We will have to install a sprinkler system, but plan to keep the home that is chosen as a home. We do not want an institutional feel and look. This is important because the funding for the project was half of what was originally listed when we applied for the grant. This makes the choice of the house more important because we will not have a lot of money to fix it up, especially since the sprinkler system installation can be quite expensive.
“I will say that we have not had any issues with our other community residences, and in some cases, our homes are the prettiest on the block. We will continue to try to ease people’s fears on this topic.”
Yost said if this house is out of the picture, Prestera will be back to “square one.”
When Prestera began the project last year, it approached local residents with personnel attending public meetings to measure local support. Only after it felt the support and need were evident did the organization apply for the state grant, which was bolstered in large part by letters of support by local government, church officials and residents.