Haymarket supporters urge Itasca officials to approve drug treatment center

  • The former Holiday Inn in Itasca is the site of a controversial proposal for a treatment center for people with drug and alcohol addictions.

    The former Holiday Inn in Itasca is the site of a controversial proposal for a treatment center for people with drug and alcohol addictions. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 10/13/2021 8:06 PM

Supporters of a proposal to open a drug-treatment center in Itasca are making a final push to convince village board members to approve the plan.

Itasca's plan commission is unanimously recommending the village reject Haymarket Center's plan to convert a former hotel along Irving Park Road into a 240-bed facility for adult patients with drug and alcohol use disorders. The panel's recommendation last month came after residents voiced strong opposition to Haymarket's proposal.

 

But before making a final decision, the village board scheduled an additional meeting to hear public comments.

And unlike at previous meetings, most of the people who showed up at village hall on Tuesday night supported Haymarket.

"There's probably nobody in this room that doesn't know somebody that isn't dealing with this illness," Itasca resident Colleen Koziara said. "The people suffering are our children, our family members and our friends."

Koziara was among a group of people who spoke about how addiction has affected them and their families.

"Drug addiction has no class distinction," Glen Ellyn resident Paula McGowen said. "It can happen and strike anywhere. People with mental disorders self-medicate, and there is a need for treatment. Please allow Haymarket to save and change lives. The lives that are saved may be one of your own."

The plan commission's negative recommendation came after it hosted public hearings over nearly two years on Haymarket's proposal. The panel's denial of the proposal was because of concerns about the impact the facility would have on police and emergency services in Itasca.

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Five residents raised those concerns again on Tuesday.

"I agree that help is needed for addiction and there could be more done for prevention," Itasca resident Jamie Peterson said. "But my concern is the immense size of this facility. As a resident of Itasca, I feel that this is too big for our small town. I have an open mind for solutions, but I don't think this is the right one."

If approved, the proposed facility would provide a "full continuum of health care services," including primary care, for adults 18 and older. The patients would primarily come from DuPage and other collar counties.

After public testimony concluded, Mayor Jeff Pruyn said the village would hear from Haymarket representatives and parties opposed to the proposal on Oct. 26. Trustees are expected to vote on the proposal in early November.

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