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Jan 21, 2016 9:56 PM

Manchester Planning Board approves new addiction recovery center after public shows support

MANCHESTER - Hope for New Hampshire Recovery supporters spoke out at a Manchester Planning Board Meeting, calling for their approval of a project that’s already bringing private businesses and local government together in support and funding.

Hope for New Hampshire is looking to expand, teaming up with other addiction recovery agencies for a so-called “one stop shop” for support services at the old Hoitt’s Furniture building on Wilson Street.

After hours of discussion and public input, the planning board voted unanimously to approve the project.

They expect it can be up and running by the summer.

Police Chief Nick Willard passionately spoke in favor of the facility, that would operate just blocks away from the police department.

“I’m going to institute some policies. We’re going to allow our police officers to bring these people, to show a degree of compassion and get them off the street and get them the services that they need,” Chief Willard said.

Everyone on the board spoke in support of the project, but some felt the application was incomplete as it doesn’t have a plan for parking. Many who spoke out during the public hearing say most of the people who utilize these services take public transportation.

Crystal Bissonnette, a mother of someone in treatment spoke out for the need for this kind of facility after someone has detoxed.

“My husband and I are petrified that he [her son] will not have a place to go once he’s done at the Farnum Center,” Bissonnette said.

The support for the facility is overwhelming, one Chief Willard feels will be a model for the rest of the country.

Kriss Blevens, a board member for Hope for New Hampshire lost her step-daughter Amber to addiction in 2014.

“If my step daughter, when she got out of Valley Street Jail, didn’t walk down to the nearest crack house but could walk just a couple of blocks up to the recovery center, where she could just walk in, fall on the floor and be greeted by some of these beautiful people here that are peer recovery coaches along with me, she might be here today,” Blevens said.

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