Crossroads hopes to build a new group treatment facility in Pueblo

·3 min read

Jun. 12—Crossroads Turning Points, Inc. hopes to expand its substance abuse treatment services by building a 20-bed facility if the agency can get the green light from Pueblo City Council during its 7 p.m. June 28 meeting.

The Pueblo Planning and Zoning Commission voted 2-2 Wednesday on the proposed project's site's rezoning after Chairman Michael Castelluci recused himself from the vote to "avoid any appearance of impropriety." City council still could approve the plan despite the split vote from the commission.

The 2.65-acre site at 1725 W. Pueblo Blvd., currently houses the Brass Saddle restaurant and bar and is owned by William Gradishar and Walter Supnik. Currently the Brass Saddle hosts live music dancing, dance lessons, outdoor car shows, food trucks and festivals on the weekends.

Crossroads officials hope to rezone the site to a multiple-residential and commercial zone district designation to facilitate the development of a group care facility for people with substance use and co-occurring behavioral disorders.

The plan calls for an "aesthetically appealing medical campus with Lake Minnequa Park providing a backdrop for health and healing." The proposed rezoning site is located south and east of Lake Minnequa Park and Open Space.

The treatment facility use will inject approximately $3 million into the local economy. The circle program is primarily funded by Medicaid and the Colorado office of Behavorial Health.

Funding for the program became available due to the efforts of Colorado Senate President Leroy Garcia and Colorado House Majority Leader Rep. Daneya Esgar.

"This was an opportunity that was bestowed upon us through the state system. This program was at the Colorado Mental Health Institute for 16 or 17 years and it had to be closed due to a staff shortage," said Charles Davis, Crossroads CEO.

"The legislators from our area thought it was important to keep it alive. They stepped up and put a proposal together that was approved statewide, so now because we were able to save the program there are going to be three programs called circle programs."

A condition of the funding requires the Crossroads circle program to select a site by June 30.

"We found a property that fit the need, it made good sense and it is adaptable to the parameters of their funding. The project would save those jobs and will probably have staff salaries of a little over $2 million a year with total revenue at about $3 million," Davis said.

He said there are currently 45 people on the waiting list that need the service, "and it is growing. Because of our current COVID situation we are only able to operate 10 beds right now instead of the 16 we had."

He said total number of clients served will be between 215 and 230 per year.

"That is probably not enough for what our community needs, but it's better than what we have," Davis said.

"The patients that we serve are trying to make their lives better," said Karen Irick, Crossroads chief clinical officer. "It is a very structured environment for them and they are monitored at all times."

Commission member Cheryl Spinuzzi said she was opposed to the request due to concerns that a residential zoning designation, R-6, does not fit the parcel site.

"I am an advocate for the Crossroads program and it would be great to have it expanded," Spinuzzi said. "My problem is with this zoning.

"With R-6 if we were to approve it, we are opening it up for future use to single-family and multi-family residences on a highway that's 55 miles an hour."

Spinuzzi and commission member Elizabeth Bailey were the two members voting against approval, while commission members Bob Schilling and Alexandra Aznar voted in favor of the proposal.

Chieftain reporter Tracy Harmon covers business news. She can be reached by email at tharmon@chieftain.com or via Twitter at twitter.com/tracywumps.

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