Meet & Greet set to discuss plans for drug rehab center

Tom Flannery Staff Writer

Cindy Bellino will take her proposal to open a drug treatment center at the former Marian Community Hospital before the city’s zoning board on Wednesday night, Feb. 26.

But three days before that, she will hold a Meet & Greet at the Best Western Pioneer Plaza which will be open to the public, where she said she will share her plans for the facility.

“I want to clear up some of the confusion and stop the wild rumors that have been circulating about what we’ll be doing up there [at the former hospital],” she explained.  “This event will provide me with the perfect opportunity to do that, and put these things to rest before the zoning board hearing is held.”

Bellino said she knows that concerned citizens “have a lot of questions” about her project, and that’s the reason she scheduled this public meeting.  In advance of it, though, she told the NEWS that she wanted to dispel a couple of the most prevalent rumors going around.

“For starters, I want to say that there’s no way we will ever have a methadone clinic or a suboxone clinic at that hospital,” she insisted, “or at any other facility I own, for that matter.”

“People will come in voluntarily using private insurance,” she offered, “and there is policy, procedure, protocol we’ll be following whenever a client decides to leave the center.  This includes making sure that he or she has transportation back to their hometown or whatever community they came from when they checked into the facility.”

She said the Meet & Greet will include “a question-and-answer session where people can ask whatever they want about the project.”

“That way, even those people who are saying all these bad things about me will be able to actually have a discussion with me and hopefully get to know me,” Bellino offered.  “I want them to be able to get their facts straight about what I’m trying to do.”

She argued that her plans for the drug treatment and detoxification center are “so important for this town, we’re going to bring so many jobs here for people.”

“We’ll have job applications for all of our departments that people can fill out at the Meet & Greet,” she noted, “and there will also be a very powerful educational portion about addiction that I think people will find very informative.”

Bellino, who owns drug treatment centers in Florida, said she may also bring “some of my team members from down South up here to talk about what we do” at the meeting.

“We’re hoping people will come with open minds and listen to what we have to say,” she explained.  “If they do, we think they’ll leave with a great deal of peace of mind about this whole situation and a better understanding of what I’m all about.”

“I really believe that once the new facility is open and it’s operational, people are going to say how proud they are to have it here in this town,” she concluded.