Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro proposes land donation to Bornstein-led Hope United for treatment center. Lake Township couple working to raise $10 million for sober-living campus on Edwin Shaw property.
AKRON The former site of Edwin Shaw hospital once again could be a home for individuals recovering from drug addiction.
During her State of the County speech Wednesday, Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro proposed donating 25 acres of the 89-acre property at 2600 Sanitarium Road in Lakemore to two not-for-profit groups fighting the opioid crisis.
Approval of the land donation rests with County Council.
The land grant to Hope United and to Restore Addiction Recovery was one of several steps — including declaring a state of emergency — Shapiro said she was taking to fight an epidemic caused by opioids, including heroin and prescription painkillers.
"At this point, everyone in this room knows someone — whether a family member, friend, neighbor or co-worker — who is affected by drug addiction," Shapiro said. "And just like so many other diseases that harm us, drug addiction knows no socio-economic, racial, ethnic, age or gender boundaries."
Hope United and Restore Addiction Recovery are working to raise up to $10 million to build a sober-living campus on the former Edwin Shaw property. The campus would include a yearlong treatment facility, housing and an after-care community center called Tyler's Redemption Place.
Travis and Shelly Bornstein, Lake Township residents, started Hope United (formerly Breaking Barriers-Hope Is Alive), after losing their 23-year-old son, Tyler, to an overdose in 2014.
Tyler's Redemption Place would include a library, coffee shop, weight room, cardio room, fellowship area and multi-purpose room. The plan is to help individuals stay in recovery, assist their families and engage the wider community, Travis Bornstein said.
The longer people can stay off drugs, the better their chances of long-term recovery, he said, citing research that relapse rates drop from 70 percent within one year of treatment to 14 percent after three to five years of sobriety.
"I believe with all my heart the only way we're going to solve this epidemic is with love and compassion, and what we're going to see there is a culture of love and compassion," Bornstein said. "We're going to invest in people long-term.”
Restore Addiction Recovery plans to build a 75-bed treatment center behind Tyler’s Redemption Place that would have an abstinence-based program that it calls "biblically based, clinically supported."
Restore President Dan Gregory, of Hudson, said the program would focus on finding clients a safe place to live, building healthy relationships and getting them a secure, strong job.
The first phase of the project would be for men, with facilities for women and adolescents being added later. Most clients would likely come from Summit, along with some from Stark, Portage and other counties, Gregory said.
Lakemore Mayor Rick Justice said the old Edwin Shaw was the heart of the village, and he anticipated the community would embrace this new project.
Edwin Shaw opened in 1915 as Springfield Lake Sanitarium for tuberculosis patients. The county changed the name in 1934 to honor rubber executive Edwin C. Shaw for his support of the hospital.
The facility later became Edwin Shaw Hospital for Rehabilitation and offered physical rehabilitation, assisted living and treatment for alcohol and drug addiction.
Akron General Medical Center took over Edwin Shaw in 2005 and moved the operation in 2009 to Edwin Shaw Rehabilitation Institute in Cuyahoga Falls.
The property remains home to Challenge Golf Course and Driving Range, designed for golfers with disabilities, and demolition of the old Edwin Shaw buildings is nearly complete.
"When it started, it took on the epidemic of the day, which was tuberculosis," Justice said. "Today, it looks like it's coming full circle, and we're going to attack this epidemic that we have now with the opioid problem."
Hope United and Restore Addiction Recovery have met with architects and are launching their fundraising campaign with Shapiro's announcement. They already have raised close to $2 million of their $10 million goal, and would like to break ground next year.
"We’re asking the community to stand up, let's unite and fight back," Bornstein said.
During her speech, Shapiro highlighted the toll opioids have taken on Summit County.
Since the start of September, Summit had seen 372 accidental drug overdoses, part of the 7,620 overdoses since 2012, in which 1,076 people died, Shapiro said.
She estimated the county had spent almost $112 million in local taxpayer funds over the past five years dealing with issues related to opioids and other drugs, and would spend up to $165 million over the next five years.
"That's right, folks. Over a 10-year period of time, the county will spend over a quarter of a billion dollars simply trying to keep up with the epidemic," Shapiro said.
Along with declaring an emergency, Shapiro said the county, joined by Akron, Barberton, Cuyahoga Falls and other communities, soon would sue the prescription opioid makers and distributors to "bring the fight to those who deceitfully and maliciously flooded our community with heavily addictive painkillers that led many down the road to despair."
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