Drug and alcohol rehab center backs off Ridge location

Just days after this paper broke the story that an in-patient drug and alcohol facility was looking into locating in Bay Ridge, the organization behind the siting has backed off.

This paper has learned that ACI, a for-profit entity founded over 40 years ago, will no longer pursue relocating its facility on three floors at the former Victory Memorial Hospital, 9036 Seventh Avenue.

While Community Board 10 hasn’t been formally notified of the change in plans, District Manager Josephine Beckmann said she had been told by ACI “that they’re not moving forward at this time.”

The change in plans came after the community board and elected officials expressed concerns about the proposal, which would have included 90 in-patient beds, to be relocated from ACI’s current facility on West 57th Street in Manhattan. ACI began looking for new space after it lost its lease on the 57th Street location.

Among those in dialogue with ACI was State Senator Marty Golden, who, said Spokesperson John Quaglione, had “spoken with various state licensing agencies about the issue.”

Quaglione credited “a multi-group effort” as well as the publicity about the proposal that began with this newspaper’s story, and “neighbors coming out and speaking their mind,” all of which arose following a Monday, May 4 meeting of CB 10’s Senior Issues, Housing, Health and Welfare Committee at which the proposal had been unveiled. The presentation to the community board was mandated by the state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS).

As a result of the feedback, said Quaglione, “They are going to be looking for a new location.”

According to Beckmann, the size of the proposal was quick to raise red flags with the committee, as was the proximity of the location to two schools, Poly Prep and the Greek School of Plato.

“A lot of committee members thought that [90 beds] was a very large size and that it may not be an appropriate place for it,” Beckmann said, echoing the sentiments of a board member who had called this paper to voice his concerns about this project’s potential.

“What I am riled up about is not the fact that it’s a rehab center – we should be helping people who have addictions – but that this is such a large proposal,” the board member had told this paper. “If this was 10, 15 or 20 beds, you wouldn’t be getting a phone call. Ninety beds is a threat to the community, in my opinion.”

Already operating out of the old Victory Memorial Hospital is the Hamilton Park Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and the SUNY Downstate Medical Center at Bay Ridge, an urgent care facility.

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