ITASCA, Ill. (CBS) — A drug treatment facility wants to turn an old Holiday Inn in Itasca into their next patient center.
But as CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported Wednesday night, neighbors want nothing to do with it.
A community meeting on the subject had to be moved to Roselle because there wasn’t a big enough venue in Itasca. Neighbors seemed to agree on the need for a drug treatment facility in DuPage County – but there was a disconnect on where it should be.
Sitting at Brittany Sosa’s feet Wednesday night was a picture of her dad, and his ashes.
“I lost my dad to a heroin overdose, March 2016,” Sosa said.
Robin dale lost her son, Matthew to an overdose when he was 26.
Robin Dale-son died from drug use
“Until you’re in our shoes, you’ll never understand the struggle that it is and how much the person who’s struggling with addiction – they don’t want this life,” Dale said.
But take a drive through Itasca and there is an issue that’s dividing people – with opinions plastered on lawns and even businesses. The message is “no Haymarket,” referring to Haymarket Center, the organization that wants to open the facility.
“I just don’t think it’s the right fit for our town – a little too small, and I just don’t think that we can really support it,” said Peter Nasios.
Haymarket Center, the Chicago-based substance treatment facility, is looking to buy the Holiday Inn in Itasca. They want to provide a treatment center for more than 200 people to address DuPage County’s 98 overdose deaths and 592 non-fatal overdoses from 2018.
“We are very adamantly opposed to it,” a man at the meeting said.
“What Haymarket is proposing is just too big for us,” said Lynn Helmintoler.
But Dr. Dan Lustig, chief executive officer of Haymarket Center, countered, “People just have a lot of misinformation, and they’re afraid.”
But Itasca Mayor Jeff Pruyn also expressed reservations.
“Several concerns – obviously we’re going to lose tax money; about $250,000,” Pruyn said.
The nonprofit will not pay property taxes, but promises more jobs than the hotel offered.
State Rep. Deb Conroy (D-Villa Park), who was at a zoning meeting on Wednesday in a packed gym of residents, said she identified grant money to ease the financial tax burden and allow Haymarket Center to move in.
But in a letter, Mayor Pruyn asked Conroy to “hold off,” at least for now.
“These people are not bad people.” Sosa said. “They make bad choices and decisions sometimes, but they just need help.”
Another concern raised Wednesday night was the strain that the treatment center could put on the fire and police departments.
Haymarket Center’s CEO said the organization has contracted with a private ambulance company to address that need.
There was no decision made on the center Wednesday night, and more meetings will be held.