The Baker County Planning Commission has awarded money for engineering that sets the wheels in motion for building in Baker City a new Recovery Village drug and alcohol treatment center for women with children.
Fred Warner Jr., chairman of the Baker County Board of Commissioners, said the county has been working with New Directions Northwest for more than a year to secure grant funding to help build the treatment center.
He said the county received an $800,000 federal community development block grant to pay part of the projected $1.7 million cost.
The center will be built on Midway Drive, adjacent to the Baker House.
The county was awarded the block grant about a year ago, and New Directions recently received a federal loan to pay the remainder of the cost.
“It looks like it’s a go,” Warner said. “All of the money is lined up for the project.”
At Tuesday’s Baker City Council meeting, Jean Hill, superintendent at the Powder River Correctional Facility, introduced Shari Selender, who is stepping into the role as director and chief executive officer at New Directions with the retirement of longtime director Bart Murray.
“Shari is going to be a great asset to this community,” Hill said.
Murray announced earlier that he will continue to be involved until his retirement at the end of 2010.
Selender, a Baker City native, returned to the area two years ago after working 13 years in an institutional drug and alcohol treatment in the Midwest. She has been running the Powder River Alternative Incarceration Program, which is a nationally recognized alcohol and drug treatment program located inside of the Powder River Correctional Facility.
Selender started on a full-time basis as program manager as well as beginning to work with Murray so the transition can be as smooth as possible when she takes over full time as the chief executive officer.
“The last two months have been long months, but very much pleasurable,” Selender said. “We are trying to raise the bar so we can give the very best service to our clients.”
She said the goal of the alcohol and drug treatment programs provided by New Directions is to give clients “the greatest opportunity for success upon release” or completion of their programs.
In addition to Recovery Village, New Directions operates Baker House, which is an adult residential alcohol and drug treatment program; as well as the Elkhorn Adolescent Treatment Center and the Blue Mountain Addictions Program, which is an outpatient alcohol and drug treatment program.
Warner credited Murray for spearheading the Recovery Village project and nurturing it to this point. Murray has been with New Directions for 27 years.
“This is a good project. It is for a place for women with children to live while they are getting treatment and going to parenting classes,” Warner said.
Currently between 10 and 15 women with children participate in the program. That number is not expected to increase, but the new Recovery Village will provide more suitable ground-floor accommodations in a more positive environment.
“At present, they are housed in a building on Resort Street, near the Pill Box,” Warner said.