Excuse me, are you listening?: Ingham County Land Bank: Two Drug Rehabilitation Facilities in One Square Block?

 Editor’s Note:  This was printed in the last edition, however, I am reprinting it for clarity and content. Everything about this transaction between Ingham County Land Bank and MidMichigan Recovery Services (MMRS) appears shady, underhanded and suspicious and should be investigated thoroughly.  People should be very knowledgeable about any and everything that goes on in their community especially those things that have potential for lasting impact.

The meeting on February 6 from 4-5:30 pm on the campus of MidMichigan Leadership Academy school, which serves K-8th graders, revealed a lot of information about the situation at hand.    There was no representation from the Head Start preschool that is situated right next to the proposed site.  I recently wrote a letter via email dated February 20, 2018 to Jessica Lamsom, Executive Director of MMRS and their board regarding some discrepancies and issues that were brought to light.  As of the printing of this paper, I have not received a response.    
Dear Readers,
Yes it is true that the Ingham County Land Bank has accepted an offer from Mid- Michigan Recovery Services (MMRS), to open a facility to treat adult males recovering from substance abuse.  They are in the process of selling the Superintendent’s House located on the former Michigan School for the Blind Campus located at 1141 N. Pine Street.
I am finding it difficult to understand who thought this would be a good idea.  We already have a 30 bed facility around the corner on Willow Street that also serves this same population.  MMRS now wants  to add another 16 bed facility to our already economically strained neighborhood.
As a 28 year resident, and business owner in the Walnut Neighborhood, I find this and the methods by which is was brought into play very disturbing.  
Instead of flooding our community with the victims of substance abuse we need to look at diverse food options such as a grocery store that would be key for all of the new tenants with limited incomes and no vehicles that will be occupying the senior and low income housing that are soon to be completed on the  former Michigan School of the Blind campus. 
I would also like to see a neighborhood center where parents could enjoy time with their children or engage in healthy activities.  The North Network Center used to serve the community and included many opportunities for young people and seniors. It was dismantled by former Mayor Bernero’s administration, and his destructive policies towards cohesive neighborhood organizations. They had an after school tutoring program, chess club, computer club and a whole host of other neighborhood activities to keep young people busy.
I wish that I felt safer.  My past experiences with individuals recovering from substance abuse have not been positive.  In fact, they have be potentially dangerous, including someone trying to push their way into my home during the day, while asking for sexual favors. My friend was accosted at her car door for money while visiting me. These are not fictional accounts.  They are real and they have left me with a foreboding and unsettling feeling. 
One of the highlights of my neighborhood is seeing the children taking a walk to the ice cream store or seeing the pre-schoolers out playing. It is easy to say what you want when you are not actually in the fish bowl. There are some fish that do not belong in that particular fish bowl with others. A certain balance needs to be maintained… this is a big city. There are no stigmas in not wanting balance in a neighborhood.  By the way, did I say there is ALREADY a 30 BED FACILITY AROUND THE CORNER?  
I would like to know if any other organizations have had problems with the Ingham County Land Bank? There are still many questions that have gone unanswered.  Such as if other property options were given? Who do we hold responsible when things don't go according to the kumbaya fairy tale that we can lump people together and find optimal success? How do we deal with the strain on the community due to late night activity, addicts roaming the neighborhood, abandoned cars on the street for seamless drug activity and of course increased an police presence and further diminished attitudes about our neighborhood.  
When are people going to say ‘enough is enough’ and stop letting people who live outside of their neighborhoods dictate what goes on in the neighborhoods they do not reside.  While the people who work for organizations, like MMRS, are able to leave their 9-5 jobs, get in their vehicles and drive off to their safe homes and their self implied elitism based on where they live. 
Enough is enough.  It is important to make your voice heard.
Rina Risper