Why South Park residents rejected ‘good neighbor’ deal with rehab center

Pat Tuffey stands on the porch of the old Daybreak facility on the 800 block of Wayne Avenue. Tuffey and four other partners want to reuse the facility as a drug and alcohol treatment center. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF
Caption
Pat Tuffey stands on the porch of the old Daybreak facility on the 800 block of Wayne Avenue. Tuffey and four other partners want to reuse the facility as a drug and alcohol treatment center. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

South Park residents voted against a good neighbor agreement that would have helped pave the way for a new men’s substance abuse rehab center to open on Wayne Avenue.

Square One Health proposed creating an in-patient treatment center in a facility that formerly housed Daybreak operations, along the 800 block of Wayne Avenue.

But on Tuesday night, residents at a Historic South Park Inc. meeting overwhelmingly voted down a good neighbor agreement, which called for the company to follow certain policies, meet some safety conditions and impose restrictions on its clients.

The city of Dayton has at times executed good neighbor agreements with bars and other establishments that sell alcohol, often with the threat of formally opposing their liquor license if they fail to comply.

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This is the second time in less than three years that the neighborhood has voiced opposition to a proposal to reuse the former Daybreak property to serve at-risk groups.

Some neighbors and local property owners said the Wayne Avenue corridor is being revitalized and the Daybreak facility can be put to better uses, like offices or housing.

They pointed to notable investments nearby, including a new brewery (Branch & Bone Artisan, 905 Wayne Ave.) and a planned coffee shop (Wholly Grounds, 825 Wayne Ave., in one of the former Daybreak buildings).

“I do believe that if this facility goes in, it will have a detriment to bringing other businesses into that block,” said Tom Ostendorf, an owner of more than 20 properties in the neighborhood, including several near the Daybreak facility.

But the vacant facility has been under contract, and the prospective buyers planned a residential group home-type facility, said Daybreak CEO Linda Kramer.

“We’ve actually had it under contract four times,” Kramer said. “Two were voted down by the neighborhood, and two couldn’t get their financing together.”

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Square One Health has proposed to open an in-patient treatment center that houses 12 to 16 adult men dealing with substance abuse issues, said Patrick Tuffey, who would be one of the owners and operators of the center. He works in the residential mortgage loan business.

The center would provide clients with cognitive behavioral therapy for 60 to 90 days, Tuffey said, and it would not dispense medication or provide detox services. The building was formerly Alma’s Place, which Daybreak used from 1975 to 2015.

Square One Health wants to help clients build a sober network, integrate into the recovery community and prepare for life after drugs and alcohol, Tuffey said.

Tuffey said he personally has no experience running a treatment center, but a couple of his five partners operate a recovery center called Desert Cove Recovery in Arizona, and one helps run a rehab center called Cardinal Recovery in Gallipolis.

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Clients will not be allowed to leave the site without staff supervision, safety staff would be on hand 24/7, and the center would have licensed counselors and case managers, Tuffey said.

The facility is perfectly designed for a small treatment center that would meet nationally recognized accreditation standards, Tuffey said.

Tuffey said he respects the South Park community’s passion and understands why they want to protect their neighborhood. Tuffey said the center would have to be a good neighbor.

“We don’t want to be in the community, we want to be a part of it,” he said.

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But South Park residents voted 46 to 15 against the agreement.

The agreement called for Square One Health to comply with conditions including preventing patients from loitering unsupervised and promising to operate four to six security cameras at all times. The agreement also said residents cannot be outside the building unsupervised for their first 30 days and cannot receive drugs to prevent withdrawal.

More than three police calls to the facility that result in arrest or citation in a six-month period would render the agreement null and void.

Mark Keller, an attorney and South Park resident, said the good neighbor agreement would be difficult and potentially costly to enforce, likely requiring civil litigation.

Keller also said he spoke with another potential buyer for the property who is interested in using it for overflow office space.

“It’s someone who is invested in the area, and you’ve probably been to their establishments,” Keller said.

Resident Jeff Peterson said he was originally leaning toward approving the good neighbor agreement, but he is concerned about the neighborhood having to foot the bill for enforcing the agreement.

“Unless the city of Dayton in some form is a party to this agreement that makes it enforceable by the city, as much as I think the cause is good and the gentleman is good, I just can’t support it,” he said.

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Amy Lee, a resident and past president of Historic South Park Inc., said her discussions with Dayton officials indicated that compliance with a good neighbor agreement could be a condition of receiving zoning approval from the city.

The proposed center needs a variance to open.

Other residents said they are concerned that Square One Health hasn’t shared a business plan and said they have many unanswered questions about its operations.

Neighbors say Wayne Avenue is seeing a resurgence because of investments like Ghostlight Coffee at 1201 Wayne Ave. and Branch and Bone.

They say the thriving Wayne Avenue business corridor in the Oregon District is extending south, and the gateway into downtown is now attracting high-quality investment. They contend the Daybreak property can attract a more desirable use than a drug and alcohol center.

Wheat Penny Restaurant, Crafted & Cured, Oregon Tails Pet Salon and the planned Reza’s Roast coffee shop have helped make the Oregon District section of Wayne Avenue into a destination.

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The old Daybreak shelter facility has been vacant for three years and has attracted zero interest from any buyers except those who want to use it as a group home, said Kramer, Daybreak CEO.

However, Daybreak’s former Lindy & Co. Dog Treats facility has been acquired and will become the coffee shop Wholly Grounds.

In 2016, Daybreak wanted to sell the former youth shelter to a group that wanted to turn it into a halfway house for female ex-convicts. Dayton’s Board of Zoning Appeals rejected a variance request that supported the project after South Park residents and property owners protested the plan.

Neighbors said a halfway house was a bad fit for an area that is on the upswing but that still struggles with drugs and crime.