America

$4.3 Million Harlem Building to Turn Into Methadone Clinic

What to Know

  • Neighbors in Harlem are upset about a planned methadone clinic being opened inside a $4.3 million building

  • Argus Community Incorporated is planning to open the drug treatment center at 147th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue

  • Residents are planning to hold a community rally Thursday night

When a home at 147th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue in Harlem sold for $4.3 million last August, no one knew it would be become a methadone clinic. Now neighbors are protesting.

"The normal thing to do is notify someone," said Rodney Gray, who owns the building next door. "But they never so much as even sent a letter to let me know what was going on here."

Argus Community Incorporated only recently told neighbors at a recent community board meeting that the building would be used for drug treatment, counseling, relapse prevention, assisted treatment and random toxicology.

Residents say they know what that means: they're terrified their quiet, residential block will soon face the same issues that other areas of Harlem, like 125th Street and Park Avenue, faced when meth clinics moved there. Litter, loitering and overall safety are just a few of their concerns.

"You know what's going to happen if you have a methadone clinic," said Carolyn Brown. "Everyone knows."

"I think everyone should be concerned," said Lula Urquhart.

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer said in a statement to News 4, "Converting a brownstone on a residential block in a protected historic district into yet another drug treatment facility isnt fair to this neighborhood, which already hosts more than a fair share of such sites."

"These facilities should be sited after an open, honest conversation about where the need really is. That conversation didnt happen here, Argus wasnt up-front about its intentions for this property, and thats why were fighting back," she said.

Argus has not responded to News 4's requests for comment.

Gray and his neighbors plan to hold a community rally Thursday night to protest and let the city and elected officials know they are unhappy with the proposal. They say they understand the city needs drug treatment facilities, but they just don't think they should be in residential areas like theirs.

"People from different areas who we aren't familiar with or even recognize, to be here at different hours of the day while they wait to get services is kind of scary and uncomfortable," said Osiris Stephen.

NBC

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