CB11 opposes Williamsbridge Road rehab center

2500 Williamsbridge Road.
Schneps Media/ Alex Mitchell

Pelham Parkway residents are fighting a proposal to convert 2500 Williamsbridge Road into a drug treatment facility on Monday, September 16.

Carnegie Hill Institute presented the proposal at Community Board 11’s Health and Social Services Committee regarding their intention to open a drug treatment center in the one-story corner property between Hone and Mace avenues on Tuesday, September 10.

Just a week later, CB11 responded to the proposal, airing a laundry list of concerns with the 822-licensed, state-funded program.

First on the list was that the proposed property is surrounded by multiple schools. P.S. 89 is located across the street on Mace Avenue.

The school’s playground is directly opposite the proposed site.

CB11 also listed Mazzei Playground, St. Catharine Academy, St. Lucy’s School, Christopher Columbus High School, the New York Institute For Special Education as schools in the surrounding area in a letter to the property’s real estate brokers, in an effort to discourage the project.

“Those in attendance felt that the proposed program by Carnegie Hill is unnecessary and a potential threat to our community’s welfare,” the letter stated.

CB11 chairman Al D’Angelo also expressed his own concerns regarding the proposal. “We already have a number of treatment facilities within the community board,” said D’Angelo.

Specifically, CB 11 has nine active and certified chemical dependence treatment centers within its boundaries, with another located just outside, according to the chairman.

“Another issue that concerns us is the poor transit in the area,” D’Angelo said.

That portion of Allerton is only serviced by the Bx 8 bus. The nearest subway stop is the #5 IRT Pelham Parkway station, which D’Angelo fears will bring unwanted, wandering interactions with the bordering school as well as other residents in the area.

The property, which was originally listed at $750,000 according to CB 11, jumped to $1 million when the treatment facility operators showed an interest in purchasing the vacant property.

Currently, Carnegie Hill Institute operates two facilities in Manhattan; one is listed as an outpatient clinic while the other is considered an opioid outpatient clinic, according to the NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.

The private company sought to acquire 3134 E. Tremont Avenue to expand its 822 program into the Bronx earlier this summer, but the property’s owner, Dr. Owen Golden, under intense community pressure, declined the sale.

Similar dissent was expressed by CB11 to Carnegie Hill Institute as well.

“I highly expect a motion to be made at CB11’s general board meeting requesting that the proper permitting to turn 2500 Williamsbridge Road into a drug treatment facility be denied,” the letter stated.

“Our concern is the placement of these facilities near schools and similar locations,” Councilman Mark Gjonaj said, noting that he isn’t opposed to treatment centers in his district, rather their placement.

That sentiment was reiterated by Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez.

“Obviously in this case the location being across from a school is the big issue,” she noted. East Bronx activist Egidio Sementelli has organized a protest in front of 2500 Williamsbridge Road for Saturday, September 21.

Calls to Carnegie Hill Institute for comment were not returned prior to press time.

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