Coulee Council on Addictions has been helping families and individuals impacted by addiction for nearly 50 years.

We provide confidential assistance to those who have decided that today is the day to seek help, but who don’t know where to begin.

Cheryl Hancock

Hancock

We have been in a residential neighborhood since 1979, and the occasional complaint we receive is about parking,

We support families whose lives have been turned upside down by this disease through support groups and programs such as “Get Your Loved One Sober.”

Our education and prevention programs have touched the lives of thousands of youth over the years, and with our potential location near Lincoln Middle School we look forward to opportunities for collaboration.

Late last year, CCA began looking for a new home. Our current location at West Avenue and Jackson Street is too small for the increased demand. We evaluated numerous sites throughout La Crosse, including existing buildings, but eliminated each for a variety of reasons.

In sharing our needs, Mayo Clinic Heath Systems generously offered space on its campus that will meet space and programming needs of The Coulee Recovery Center. We share the belief that good health includes mind, body and spirit.

After several months of negotiation, during which both parties were bound by a confidentiality agreement, we announced July 12 that Mayo Clinic Health Systems would graciously lease land to CCA at 9th and Ferry for $1 per year.

The Coulee Recovery Center will provide a safe, chemical-free place for individuals to go for support, education, recreation and social interaction with others in recovery. We are not a drug-treatment facility and our guests come voluntarily to join in the fellowship of others seeking long-term sobriety.

This great collaborative effort is characteristic of our supportive neighbors at Mayo Clinic Health Systems. The beloved Washburn neighborhood gardens, the Hillview Urban Agriculture vermiculture site, as well the joint Viterbo/Boys and Girls Club garden, exist because of Mayo’s generosity.

The property CCA has been offered is zoned R-5 multiple family, and we are seeking a zoning reclassification to public and semi/public, which is within Mayo Clinic’s campus plan and consistent with the city comprehensive plan. According to the city planning department: “The Washburn Neighborhood Plan clearly indicates areas of institutional planning and expansion will be recognized, for which your site is located. Neighborhood revitalization work, while targeting specific neighborhoods, did not necessarily target the site you chose.”

We applaud the many good things happening in the Washburn area. It is part of what attracted us. In May, we attended the association meeting to share our plans but could not share the exact location because of confidentiality. The day we reached our lease agreement, a CCA board member canvassed the neighborhood to share information on the project and invite communication.

There are valid concerns from adjacent neighbors that we are doing our best to address.

We recognize we’re moving quickly. But being good stewards of our donated dollars, we want to avoid additional costs associated with winter construction — estimates of increases of up to 15 percent ($300,000). Our goal is to take occupancy in late spring because of an accepted offer on our current property, which will eventually return to the tax rolls.

Some say this beautiful $2 million investment in the neighborhood will decrease property values. We believe it will be a gem and contribute to the tremendous revitalization efforts underway.

Perhaps the biggest obstacle to The Recovery Center location is fear — fear that the grandmas and grandpas; moms and dads; sons and daughters; brothers and sisters in recovery will increase crime in the neighborhood. Fear that the doctors, nurses, lawyers, bankers, business owners, factory workers, retirees, friends and neighbors who have suffered from addiction and sought to turn their lives around will somehow make the neighborhood less safe.

We have all heard concerns about the drug problem in La Crosse and increased crimes related to drug addiction. We know people can and do recover with treatment and support – and our life-changing Coulee Council on Addictions is part of the solution.

The Coulee Recover Center project has received amazing community support from dozens of individuals and organizations.

On Thursday, we learned of a procedural error made by the city resulting in a 30-day delay in the rezoning process.

That provides us an opportunity to seek input, answer questions and fine-tune our plans to ensure the best possible outcome. On Monday, we will continue hosting a series of meetings with neighborhood residents and other interested parties.

The Coulee Recovery Center is an opportunity for this community to show that we are willing to support those seeking long-term recovery. Please be a voice for recovery and encourage your council representative to support CCA’s zoning request.

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