Panel approves center’s location

Friday, April 9, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 12:44 a.m. CDT, Monday, June 30, 2008

Rick Wells stood before the Planning and Zoning Commission on Thursday evening and spoke about his struggle to overcome alcohol abuse.

“Recovery is not an event,” he said. “It is a process which continues until we die.”

Wells was appealing to the commission to approve a request to rezone property in northern Columbia that would allow Phoenix Programs, a nonprofit organization that helps individuals overcome addiction, to open a new home in a residential neighborhood.

The commission voted unanimously to approve the request and redesignate the land for commercial use.

The site of the new location will be just off Leslie Lane, a residential street in the Parkade neighborhood, west of North Providence. The organization currently operates out of three facilities; two in the downtown area and one on Vandiver Blvd.

Executive Director Deborah Beste said these facilities are “tired” and cramped. The new location will allow the program to centralize most of its efforts into one building, she said.

Beste said the new facility will cost about $2 million, which will come from private donations and foundations. She expects contractors to break ground within the year and to be serving clients in a year and a half.

Phoenix Programs provides a number of services in Columbia, including outpatient and residential treatment. Programs combine individual, family and group counseling with day treatment activities in order to guide participants back to a substance-free lifestyle.

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