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Former federal building in Parkersburg to host treatment facility

The former federal building at 425 Juliana St., Parkersburg, is the planned site of an alcohol and drug abuse treatment center to be operated by Clean & Clear Advantage LLC. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

PARKERSBURG — A company wants to place an alcohol and drug treatment facility in the former federal building on Juliana Street in downtown Parkersburg.

Clean & Clear Advantage LLC submitted an application for an exemption from certificate of need for the facility to the West Virginia Health Care Authority on Friday, said Jessica Holstein, assistant director of communications for the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources. The authority reviews plans to add or expand health care services to determine whether they are needed and not duplicated.

According to the Health Care Authority’s website, hca.wv.gov, among the services that qualify for exemption are alcohol or drug treatment facilities or services.

According to the application, Clean & Clear plans to offer detox, residential, intensive oupatient and outpatient treatment services to adults. Group and individual therapy, medical evaluations, psychiatric evaluations and medication management would be included in the treatment program.

The federal building was purchased in the fall of 2017 by a company called 425 Juliana St. LLC, taking its name from the facility’s address. The managing partner of that business is New York developer Vyacheslav Ripa, who is also listed by the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office as a member and organizer of Clean & Clear Advantage.

A message to Ripa seeking comment on the project was not immediately returned Thursday afternoon.

The application predicts construction would have been completed by Feb. 21, while staffing is expected to be in place March 13. Pending approval from the state Office of Health Facility Licensure and Certification (OHFLAC), it was anticipated Clean & Clear Advantage could be operational by April 1.

However, the Health Care Authority has 45 days to review the exemption application.

Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce said a treatment program is permitted under federal law and exempt from local and state zoning regulations because addiction is classified as a disability.

“The recent increase of treatment facilities in Parkersburg has resulted in many success stories; however, I and others in the community have serious and legitimate concerns with efforts to return out-of-town persons to their hometown or region,” he said.

Joyce has expressed concerns with people coming to the area for treatment, leaving the programs without completing them and remaining in the area. That was one factor in his proposal and Parkersburg City Council’s approval of $10,000 for a pilot program with Westbrook Health Services aimed at returning homeless individuals to areas where they have family and support services.

“This program has realized some impact, a limited number of persons being reunited with their families,” Joyce said.

“The overarching issue of addiction is one that needs continued focus and constant evaluation,” he said.

Joyce said he’s willing to discuss any issues that may arise with the new venture.

“I am … hopeful that this new agency will work with the city to ensure their services don’t have (a) negative impact on our downtown and surrounding neighborhoods,” he said.

The contractor working on the building for Clean & Clear Advantage appeared Feb. 26 before Parkersburg’s Central Downtown Business Design and Facade Committee to discuss plans to build a fence “around a third of the back of the property,” said Councilman J.R. Carpenter, a member of the committee.

“The purpose behind the fencing is to keep foot traffic away from what will be a rehab facility,” the minutes from the meeting say. “It is not a security fence. They also plan to install a couple of basketball hoops and that will keep the balls inside of the fence.”

The application was tabled until the March 11 meeting, pending the receipt of additional information about the fence.

Evan Bevins can be reached at ebevins@newsandsentinel.com.

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