ANDERSON — Aspire and Progress House held a meeting Wednesday at the Sonrise Retreat Center to address neighbors’ concerns about bringing a residential care facility for people battling addiction to the property off 67th Street.
The meeting was set up as a series of tables, each one designated to address a particular concern raised during a meeting in October by neighbors who live near the 13-acre property.
A group of over 30 residents arrived together and made a beeline to the table on safety and security.
President and CEO of Progress House Darrell Mitchell, President and CEO of Aspire Barbara Scott and Madison County Sheriff Scott Mellinger answered a steady stream of questions.
Residents had several concerns including who would be allowed in the program and increased pedestrian traffic in a rural setting without street lights or sidewalks.
Shawn Clemons lives in the area and is opposed to the program coming to Ridgeview Road.
“I’m saying that’s a program that belongs in a city where they have sidewalks and lighting, bus routes, things that these people will need that they won’t have out here,” Clemons said.
The facility would have room for 96 beds, similar in capacity to Progress House’s Indianapolis location.
Mitchell said Progress House provides transportation and about 20% of residents at the Indianapolis location have cars.
Sheriff Mellinger told the crowd that he was convinced the people who would be living at the facility would be no more likely to hurt them than anyone else in Madison County.
“These people that are here want to be here. They are working hard not to get in trouble,” Mellinger said.
Rezoning of the property needs to pass a third reading by the Anderson City Council and appear before the Board of Zoning Appeals for an exception. The City Council tabled the request until Nov. 14 and opponents have asked that it be continued another 30 days to further research the issue.