Vergennes residents might initially be wary that a 19-bed residential treatment facility for young women who are battling drug addiction and/or “self-injury behaviors” might soon occupy the former Briarwood Manor nursing home in Vergennes, but initial reports look promising and we think area residents will be comforted as they learn more about the operation and its plans.
The company, Bradford-based Valley Vista, a private, 80-bed alcohol and chemical dependency treatment center serving men women and children, recently confirmed plans to buy the former nursing home property. The operation would employ about 20 people, including doctors, nurses, clinicians, counselors and others. (See story, Page 1.) At its Bradford facility, the community initially had reservations when it started in 2004, but since have reportedly had few issues and consider the company to a good corporate citizen. Co-owner Rick DiStefano said of the eight-year relationship with Bradford: “We have an excellent track record. We want to be a good neighbor.” Town officials reportedly agree.
What makes the Vergennes area attractive is its rural location situated between the population centers of Rutland and Chittenden counties, which also could lead to further expansion of the facility there, or perhaps to sister sites in either Bristol or Middlebury if there is ample demand. DiStefano noted that the facility would be working in close alliance with the Addison County Counseling Service based in Middlebury, creating a smart synergy of resources.
It’s a bit too early to say, but on the surface it appears a good fit for the Little City and a promising source of good jobs for the county.
Angelo S. Lynn