FREDERICK — Eugene Cisneros’ plan to open a substance abuse treatment program for pregnant woman and a battered women’s shelter in downtown Frederick has some residents concerned.
Frederick business owner Dustan Flanagan has circulated a petition against the plan, saying the treatment center isn’t appropriate.
He’s also mailing leaflets urging residents to speak out against the facility.
“It’s just the location,” Flanagan said. “This is a small business district and it’s just getting off the ground. Something like this would really detour businesses from coming to the downtown.”
If Frederick wants this type of facility, then it should find a better place, he said.
Cisneros, however, said the programs won’t stigmatize the downtown community and that Flanagan’s information about the program is misleading.
The site for his proposed Carbon Valley Substance Abuse Treatment Program is at the former Hoffman’s Hideaway Bed and Breakfast at 154 Fifth St., a large white hotel that many consider a historic centerpiece of downtown Frederick.
Flanagan owns the building across the street, which he hopes to refurbish and lease out as a day-care center. His wife owns a hair salon in downtown Frederick.
Flanagan said the drug and alcohol facility is next to three bars and butts up against a neighborhood, which isn’t appropriate.
Cisneros moved his nonprofit Northern Colorado Immigrant Services Center to the Hoffman building March 1 with the plan to open the treatment center for pregnant women addicted to drugs and alcohol. He appears before the Frederick Planning Commission on May 19 for a conditional use review on the proposal.
The Frederick Board of Trustees could have the final say on the plan as early as June 9.
Cisneros said much of the information that Flanagan is circulating about the program isn’t true, and he wants to clear up what he believes are misconceptions about the services.
He will hold a Frederick Town Hall meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday to present his plan for the treatment center and shelter to the community.
“The trouble is, people get the idea that the girls will be brought here and then will roam the streets,” he said. “It’s just the opposite.”
As planned, the program will serve up to 15 pregnant women referred to the program by Social Services or law enforcement, Cisneros said.
They will work during the day, then come back to the facility in the evening to undergo counseling. They won’t be allowed to leave on their own and the building will have security guards 24 hours a day, Cisneros said.
It’s not a jail, he said; the women will go through the program for a few months, then go home.
“We are going to pull them in and teach them how to make good decisions,” he said.
Cisneros also wants to dedicate eight beds for use as a battered women’s shelter. He also wants to provide court-ordered drug and alcohol classes under the same roof, as well as maintain the immigrants services, which includes counseling and English classes.
Neighbor Jane Stevens said that’s too many uses in one building to have in her back yard.
Stevens lives next door and said she’s concerned about having as many as 20 people living at the former bed and breakfast at any one time, as well as drug and alcohol offenders coming to downtown Frederick regularly.
“I’m not happy with it,” she said. “I don’t think it’s appropriate for our neighborhood. It would completely change the makeup of our neighborhood.”
Jilba Wallace, a counselor for Life Moves Counseling Center in downtown Frederick, and fellow counselor Lisa Bozik will help with counseling at the treatment center.
“I think this is a needed program in the area,” Wallace said.
However, she knows some people are concerned about the location.
“We have a wait-and-see attitude about it,” Wallace said.
Douglas Crowl can be reached at 303-684-5253, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.