Tri-Cities substance abuse recovery center closer to reality

KENNEWICK, Wash. – Years ago, Michelle Gerber and her husband, from the Tri-Cities, lost their son to substance abuse.

“He’s my inspiration, and I absolutely think that if we can save a few people and I can help in that it honors him,” Gerber, the President of the Benton Franklin Recovery Coalition said.

Since then, it’s what’s driven her to get a recovery center opened in the Tri-Cities.

“We’re very excited because we’re off and running and that’s a goal that I would say three years ago when we founded the coalition we didn’t really know if we’d ever get this far,” she said.

Recently, Washington gave Benton County $2.7 million to inspect the Trios Women and Family Birth Hospital in Kennewick, which could become the recovery center if deemed appropriate.

“So, they’re looking at the mechanical systems, the electrical systems and the structure itself to see what shape it’s in and if it’s a viable building,” Benton County Commissioner Jerome Delvin explained.

They hope the building meets all their needs, or else they would have to look at another facility or build from the ground up.

“Then it’s hiring a firm to do the redesign and at that point we want to pick a provider; the county wants to pick a provider,” he said.

As for funding the project, Delvin said Benton County plans to provide money, hopefully from help from Franklin County and other Tri-Cities municipalities.

“People need treatment, they can get well they can recover and have good lives but they really can’t without any place to go,” Gerber said.

Both Gerber and Delvin said they’re also looking to form an advisory board made up of locals who have knowledge or expertise in the substance abuse and recovery field. The board would oversee the center’s development and operations.

“We just need to build this facility, get the door open, and start helping people,” Gerber urged.

“I think we have the momentum finally to get this done so, it’s going to get done,” Delvin added.

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