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Local Government

Residents continue Kiva debate

ST. CHARLES – Campton Hills residents were once again eager to speak Monday on a proposed alcohol and drug treatment facility for the former Glenwood School site.

The Campton Hills Village Board once again heard public comments at the Congregational United Church of Christ in St. Charles, and comments were limited to those who did not speak during public comment periods Nov. 27 and Dec. 4. Some spoke in favor of the village voting to give Kiva Recovering a special-use permit to open at the former school, and many spoke against it.

Those opposed to the facility questioned the track record of other facilities run by those who would manage Kiva Recovery, and several continued to voice concerns about decreasing property values, additional stress on emergency personnel, the possibility of increasing crime and creating dangerous traffic patterns.

Resident Judy Dominick said those in opposition were not contesting the need for a substance abuse treatment facility, but what it would do to property values with little return on investment for the village.

“I feel as though this for-profit is coming and actually reaching into my pocket and taking out money,” she said, noting she has lost at least $20,000 in her home value since the economic downturn. “This for-profit is going to make a lot of money. What’s in it for us?”

Some residents, including Dominick, also criticized village officials for sending out postcards asking people how they feel about locating Kiva Recovery in Campton Hills.

“I believe it should be a referendum,” she said. “We are the ones who live here, and we are the ones who will be getting poorer by the minute.”

Those in support of Kiva Recovery spoke about the need for a facility where people can get help. Resident Sandra Kakacek, a longtime mental health counselor and a professor, rebutted claims from other residents who feel the facility would cause crime to go up.

She said she has many students in her master’s degree program who serve internships in substance treatment facilities, and they report it’s a safe environment. She said she would never risk her students being in an unsafe place.

“I believe Kiva is a haven for change,” she said. “There are so many dangers in our world, I would love to see a place like this help out everybody who needs it.”

Resident Kristin Scott spoke in favor of Kiva and said it’s difficult enough for people to step up and change their lives, and it helps when people embrace those who are struggling.

“It doesn’t stop drug addiction, but it creates an awareness,” she said. “It helps people to stop the cycle earlier and earlier. People get well if they feel accepted. … If we can’t accept people who need help, then we’re not going to get better as a society.”

Others in opposition questioned the timing of Kiva opening in the midst of the Affordable Care Act requirements taking effect. Resident Rick Nelson said he felt Kiva Recovery might make the community less safe.

“I would ask you sincerely to vote no on this property,” he said. “There are other opportunities there that would be more advantageous to our community.”

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