Cold Spring leaders fight plan to put addiction recovery center next door

Mayor is mad at county judge exec
Posted at 7:11 PM, May 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-10 00:40:23-04

COLD SPRING, Ky. – City leaders say they oppose a plan to put an addiction recovery center next door. And they're upset with county officials for not sharing information with them.

The mayor and the city attorney are speaking out against a plan to convert the former Campbell County Boys Lodge, just across the city line on a bluff above the Ohio River.

Brighton Recovery Services wants to buy the property from the Diocese of Covington. Cold Spring residents will soon get a letter about the plan from the mayor, but they are already upset, Mayor Angelo Penque says.

READ the mayor's letter.

Penque and City Attorney Brandon Voelker say it would cause traffic problems for everyone concerned.

Steve Trauth, a long-time Cold Spring resident, is worried about safety and having addicts regularly passing through his neighborhood.

There's even talk that Cold Spring might begin proceedings to annex the property. All of these issues will be discussed at a meeting hosted by city leaders on May 25 at the First Baptist Church, 4410 Alexandra Pike. Penque said he expects a larger crowd than the city building can hold.

“I want to see those people helped, but there are certain locations that it doesn't even make sense to have it there,” Penque said.

He thinks the property at the end of Skyline Drive is one of them.

“The citizens are very upset,” Penque said. “They're very concerned about the infrastructure. The road. There's one way in, one way out. It all has to go through Cold Spring.”

To get to the Boys Lodge, closed in 2012, you have to go past the Campbell County Education Service Center, Cline Elementary School, a day-care center, the city building and a lot of private homes. Most of the road is hilly and narrow.

Voelker agrees that it’s a traffic nightmare waiting to happen.

“A rehab center … people are coming and going. It's a single lane road. It's in rough shape. You couldn't even get a TANK bus back there. It's not even on a TANK bus route,” Voelker said.

“Are we going to have ambulances going back and forth through there? It's going to increase taxes,” Penque added. “The fire department is already so busy. I can't even imagine the number of calls we're going to have back there.”

Trauth, who says he has lived in Cold Spring for 31 years,  says he’s all for recovering addicts.

“We're not opposed to the treatment center at all. In fact, I'd like to see all the people get well over their problems and that,” Trauth said.

Just not in his backyard.

Trauth said a heroin addict came through the neighborhood recently trying to get into cars.

“I don't have to worry about my wife being safe during the day when I'm gone,” he said.

Trauth says citizens are desperate to know what's going on. Judge Executive Steve Pendery has refused to give out any information, the mayor says.

“The biggest thing is the transparency that the county judge exec is not showing to the citizens of Cold Spring,” Trauth said.

Calls to Pendery and the diocese haven't been returned. Bright Center officials say nothing has been formally decided.

“Nobody wants the diocese not to be able to sell the property,” Voelker said, “but it's probably better used for residential use than a rehab center.”

SEE WCPO's complete coverage of "Heroin in the Tri-State."