Thursday, February 17, 2011

Drug Counseling Center Looks for New Location

JNS wanted to purchase 752 Onderdonk Avenue (red arrow), but is now looking at 919 Wyckoff Avenue (A).

By Eric Yun

Last November, Community Board 5, despite some misgivings, approved a proposal from JNS Counseling Services to open a drug counseling and rehabilitation center at 752 Onderdonk Avenue in Ridgewood. However, JNS could not complete the purchase of the property, which forced them to look for a new site.

Ertuania Jorge, program director for JNS, presented the new proposed location, 919 Wyckoff Avenue, to board members at last Wednesday’s Community Board 5 meeting.

The new location is accessible from the L train and is the same size (2,500 square feet) as the previous location. “The good thing is the owners are willing to sell,” Jorge said.

JNS Counseling—an outpatient counseling serv- ice that does not give prescriptions—already operates a site in Brooklyn, and works closely with local doctors and police to counsel drug addiction and DWI infractions.

One board member, who voted against the plan in November, said the new location is more appropriate. She was worried that 752 Onderdonk Avenue was too residential for a counseling center, but the new location is a more commercial area with a pharmacy and car center nearby.

There were some concerns about the location’s proximity to P.S. 239. Jorge countered that their patients would not be loitering around the area and noted that a much more complex counseling center is already also nearby.

“Out of my experience, it’s going to hurt the community in any way,” Jorge said.

The proposal will go to the board’s Health and Human Services Committee. If the committee approves the proposal, it will be brought to the full board for a vote at the next meeting.

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