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ANDERSON — The former Mockingbird Hill concert venue in Anderson is getting a new life that is intended to help people deal with substance addiction.

In the 1950s and 1960s some of the biggest stars in country music performed at Mockingbird Hill in the 4000 block of Ridgeview Drive.

The Anderson Plan Commission on Tuesday approved a request from Aspire Indiana to rezone the property to allow its use as a site for primary care and behavioral health services for people dealing with substance abuse problems.

Mockingbird Hill was purchased several years ago by Bethesda Lutheran Communities and used as a camp for adults with disabilities.

Aspire Indiana is partnering with Progress House of Indianapolis to provide inpatient and outpatient treatment services for as many as 100 men.

“This is a perfect location,” local attorney Tom Beeman said of the rezoning request. “It’s a secluded area surrounded by woods.”

Barbara Scott, president and chief executive officer for Aspire Indiana, said the organization has several group homes in Anderson and Lapel and was formerly known as the Center for Mental Health in Madison County.

Scott said the facility will help in lowering the number of inmates at the Madison County Jail who are dealing with substance abuse and addiction problems.

“We will be offering primary health care, behavioral health and recovery programs all under one roof,” she said.

Darrell Mitchell, CEO of Progress House, said there is a demand for the services in Indiana.

He said 10% of the state’s population is in need of recovery services.

“The majority of our clients are between the ages of 17 and 30 and are substance abusers,” Mitchell said. “We will be providing life skills and job training programs to provide a system of care they need.”

He said 60% of the clients at Progress House are referred for treatment by the court system and up to 50% of the clients complete the program.

The programs run from six months to two years.

Mitchell said Medicaid pays for the residential substance abuse treatment and some state funding has been made available by the Indiana Legislature.

“This will be a hub of intense treatment for six months,” Scott said. “Employment is a part of the recovery process.”

She said Aspire Indiana plans to have a staff of 41 highly trained professionals and the facility will operate 24 hours per day, seven days a week.

Beeman said there will be no change in the facilities at the 13-acre site, which includes an administration building and numerous other buildings that can be used for sleeping quarters.

Several Plan Commission members expressed the need for a similar treatment program for women.

“This is our first step,” Scott said. “We believe in this model as the best way to provide services.”

She said Aspire Indiana is working to find a regional provider to offer treatment programs for women.

Follow Ken de la Bastide

on Twitter @KendelaBastide,

or call 765-640-4863.

Senior Reporter covering Anderson and Madison County government, politics and auto racing for The Herald Bulletin. Has been working as a journalist in central Indiana since 1977.

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