ELYRIA — The County Commissioners hope to turn the old Golden Acres facility into an opioid recovery facility to help address the epidemic.
Commissioners announced the county is planning to request $500,000 in funding from the state to help pay the estimated $850,000 cost to get the building ready for its new proposed role.
The new facility is being called Recovery-One Lorain County, and would be a one-stop recovery facility. The Nord Family Foundation, The LCADA Way, Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board of Lorain County and the Lorain County Board of Mental Health are partnering with the commissioners in the endeavor, according to Commissioner Matt Lundy.
“It’s a heck of a partnership, a great partnership,” Lundy said. “Everybody is coming together to work on this Recovery-One initiative. This county so badly needs a one-stop treatment facility so we can address this area that’s been very hard-hit by the opioid epidemic.”
Lundy said the specifics of how the facility would be run aren’t known yet.
“It would be a partnership,” he said. “We have the building and we’re making an investment to upgrade the building so operations can take place in it for the long term that will have minimal utility costs. Anytime you’re exploring new territory, it’s a learning process. The commissioners aren’t going to run this facility. The facility is going to be run by experts in the field, and those experts in the industry would come from LCADA Way, ADAS and the mental health board.”
The first step of the process would be to get the building ready, Lundy said.
“The first thing is to stabilize the building because all the parties said that nobody wants to take on the building until the utilities are stabilized,” Lundy said. “That means the furnace, air conditioning and those types of things are workable so you have reasonable utilities when you run an operation like this.”
County Administrator Jim Cordes said the building isn’t in as bad of shape as some may think. The money would fund roof and elevator repairs, HVAC improvements, and other needed work.
The County Commissioners voted to shut down the county-run Golden Acres Nursing Home in September 2015. Officials said the decision was made because the county home was losing money.
The county had residents in the building “until a year and a half ago,” Lundy said.
Commissioner Lori Kokoski said Recovery-One could drastically help in the county’s fight against the opioid crisis.
“I’ve been to a lot of meetings throughout the county regarding the opioid epidemic, and this is the missing piece,” she said. “With police-assisted recovery, if somebody goes to the police and says they need help, we have nowhere to take them. If somebody needs to detox, they’re detoxing on the jail floor.”
Kokoski said the facility could offer different phases of recovering, such as detox, inpatient recovery and maybe sober living.
Lundy said there’s no Plan B if the state doesn’t approve the funding for the capital improvements.
“Obviously, we would be very disappointed if the state doesn’t provide funding for projects like this,” he said. “This is what the state has talked about every day in Ohio that more help is needed and that’s where state dollars should be directed. We’re optimistic that we’ve put together a good plan. We’re optimistic that it will be supported, but we don’t know to what level.”
If the state doesn’t agree to the funding request, Lundy said he believes the partners would meet and try to figure out a Plan B.
The commissioners said they are willing to make an investment of about $200,000 toward capital improvements at the facility.