People pack Belpre City Council meeting to discuss rehab facility

WTAP Daybreak
Published: May. 23, 2023 at 1:01 AM EDT
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BELPRE, Ohio. (WTAP) - Belpre City Hall was packed for Monday night’s city council meeting.

People voiced concerns over rumors of legislation that would prevent a facility from coming to town that would provide substance use outpatient services as well as a residential program.

WTAP clarifies the situation.

Person after person got up to voice support for Angel’s Harbor. Many were graduates who credit their sobriety to the organization. Some were family members of people who’ve gone through the program.

One woman who’s gone through the program said, “For the first time in 52 years, I know I’m on the right road now. I would’ve never been able to see this road if it wasn’t for this ministry.”

A man who’s loved one is currently in the program said, “She gave Angel’s Harbor a chance and my family is being reconnected. My son gets the chance to have his mother in his life.”

Angel’s Harbor Co-Owner Tim Craft described their approach to substance use disorder as faith-based. He hopes to set up a facility on the edge of town.

“In one year, the ladies that have graduated our program have a 71% sustained success rate of sobriety...,” he said.

Craft told WTAP that serving the Washington County population would be the facility’s main priority but it would take people from out of town as well.

He said that the facility would create at least 30 jobs in the area.

Craft added that the facility can produce good employees and members of the community, saying, “We also have ladies that work in the city, that are now in our transitional living program, that are from this city, and now work in the city, providing employment for businesses that are in this area.”

According to Craft, Angel’s Harbor is currently operating out of Little Hocking with outpatient services. It also has a residential facility in Vincent. Additionally, Angel’s Harbor provides transitional living, which mainly operates in Vincent and extends a little into Belpre.

Officials clarified to WTAP that they have not yet discussed any legislation.

Law Director Tom Webster said that, so far, the only thing that has happened is a committee meeting about looking into research. What they would be researching is how to go about dealing with rehab programs in Belpre.

Webster explained that what started the conversation was locals calling officials, voicing concerns about a rehab program looking into coming to Belpre. He said that people are worried about it creating crime.

Angel’s Harbor Co-Owner Abby Craft addressed concerns over what would happen with people who choose to leave the program. She pointed to processes they have in place at their current facility.

“We do everything in our power to find them another place that maybe better suits their needs or we go buy them bus tickets or we have somebody transport them if they don’t have a family member to come pick them up so I just wanted to assure you guys that we will not just be throwing people onto the streets if they decide that they don’t want to stay,” she said.

Also at city council, members voted to pass and adopt an ordinance that locals have passionately spoken out about involving inoperable vehicles. Click on the link below for background on that legislation.