A proposed methadone clinic that was stopped last year by Councilman Mark Gjonaj and Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez appears to have used deception to circumvent the community’s efforts to halt the facility from establishing roots in the Pelham Parkway North community .
In November 2019, Gjonaj, Fernandez and Community Board 11 held a raucous town hall where nearly 1,000 people expressed displeasure with a methadone clinic coming to the community, specifically because of its close proximity to P.S. 89.
However, on Monday, February 17, Carnegie Hill Institute, posing as CHI LLC, purchased the brick one-story property for $925,000 from Florence Klapper, a Manhattan resident, $75,000 less than the original asking price.
Tracy Collins director of the Office of Government Affairs and Federal Policy of the Office of Addiction Services and Supports said no application has been filed for this location. Carnegie Hill officials could not be reached for comment to defend their alleged duplicity .
Elected officials and residents feel like they are being stabbed in the back by Carnegies’s unscrupulous behavior. Gjonaj, Fernandez and Jeremy Warneke, district manager of CB 11 were caught off-guard by the sale.
“I am still against this location being used as an outpatient drug facility due to its proximity to an elementary and middle school, as well as the undoubted congestion issue it will cause,” Fernandez said. “I continue to stand with my community’s sentiment.”
While the elected officials are strongly opposed to the facility coming to the neighborhood, community leaders Irene Estrada feels the residents were betrayed. An emotional Estrada asked the Bronx Times how the elected officials could claim the deal was dead and now the sale has gone through.
“Any insinuations that I, or any other elected officials, spearheaded or brokered this sale is completely false. I am making every attempt to contact the buyer to get a clear understanding of their intentions and, if they wish to open an outpatient facility, urge they look at other locations ,” Fernandez said emphatically.
According to Estrada, the community is furious and on Saturday, March 7, the Friends of Pelham Parkway are holding a rally to protest the clinic.
“There will be no methadone clinic there because we will fight it in every measure,” Estrada said. “We the people of District 11 commit to fight for any issue that comes against us to disturb our peace of mind. Enough is enough! I am working with elected officials to make sure we are all on the sane page.
We encourage the people of our communities to be at peace because we the people will not allow any clinic to be anywhere near a school, house of worship or residential area. We are watching closely to make sure it stays that way.”
In September, Carnegie Hill Institute presented a proposal at Community Board 11’s Health and Social Services Committee regarding their intention to open a drug treatment center in the corner property on Williamsbridge Road between Hone and Mace avenues.
CB 11 already has nine active and certified chemical dependence treatment centers within its boundaries, with another located just outside.