Saginaw Council blocks proposed neighborhood rehab facility

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by TODD UNGER

Bio | Email | Follow: @toddWFAA8

WFAA

Posted on January 7, 2014 at 10:59 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 7 at 11:40 PM

Proposed rehab facility

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SAGINAW — A proposed substance abuse rehabilitation center in Saginaw has been rejected by the City Council after weeks of protests and a petition by concerned citizens.

The proposal concentrated around vacant space in a strip mall at 520 South Saginaw Boulevard where MedMark Services, a Lewisville-based health care company, wanted to open a rehab facility.

But neighbors who live directly behind the area opposed the idea, as did the operator of a longtime local daycare center.

"It's just far too close," said Valerie Tankersley, who runs Valerie's Kid Kare.

She said nearly every parent of a child in her care, at least a few dozen, signed the petition opposing the rehab facility.

The City Council previously tabled any votes on the proposal.

According to city documents, MedMark was aware of the local concerns and had been trying to address them.

Many neighbors said it just isn't a good idea to have so many addicts seeking treatment in a family-friendly area. There is also a popular gym next door.

More than 100 people packed an overflow City Council meeting on Tuesday night. The Council wasted no time in voting unanimously to reject the special use permit as the crowd cheered.

Cathe Merce was overjoyed.

"You can accomplish anything, and people care — they really do," she said.

The mayor and city attorney declined to speak with News 8, saying the city is preparing for a lawsuit battle with MedMark.

MedMark has not yet responded to calls or e-mails for comment.

E-mail tunger@wfaa.com

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