If all goes well, the transformation of the former Becker County workhouse into a warm, welcoming, and dynamic “women’s co-occurring mental health and substance use disorder recovery facility” will soon be underway – with the help of additional business and private contributions from the local community.

Recovery Community Resources, a nonprofit based in Detroit Lakes, is buying the former minimum security jail building on Randolph Road in Detroit Lakes for $600,000.

 General Contractor Randy Stallman with new proposed plans for the building. (Submitted photo)
General Contractor Randy Stallman with new proposed plans for the building. (Submitted photo)

“What this facility will be offering to this community has been desperately needed for several years,” says Shelly Petrik, executive director and CEO of Recovery Community Resources, and the driving force behind the $1.1 million dollar project -- slated to begin renovation in the early spring. “COVID-19 has only served to open our eyes to the extremity of the current need, as well as the upcoming, high-numbered, several-year ‘fallout’ crisis (of women needing help) that we’re anticipating,” she said. The new treatment center will serve 40-60 women.

Shelly Petrik has launched a new nonprofit to create a women's treatment center in Detroit Lakes. (Nathan Bowe/Tribune)
Shelly Petrik has launched a new nonprofit to create a women's treatment center in Detroit Lakes. (Nathan Bowe/Tribune)

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The need for community treatment and counseling services continues to rise, said Peggy Isakson, Recovery CR’s executive assistant and marketing director. “And services for women are severely lacking in the northwest region of the state.”

She said there are five such residential programs available statewide, but they don’t all offer all-inclusive, comprehensive programs at the same location, and some include male clients. That can be a problem for some women, she said, since – for example – some have experienced trauma, so receiving services in mixed-gendered facilities is not appropriate.

“Recovery CR will also offer treatment coordination and peer recovery support services to aid individuals in long-term recovery and stabilization services," said Petrik. “The goal is to provide a continuum of care services so clients aren’t forced to move from location to location or program to program to get their recovery needs met.”

Recovery CR will target the needs of women in the northwestern part of Minnesota, including Becker, Norman, Clay, Otter Tail, Hubbard, Mahnomen, Wadena and Beltrami counties, and the White Earth Indian Reservation.

“For many women, the anxiety level has just been too much to handle in the explosive environment that we’re in today,” Isakson said. “Our minds and bodies aren’t meant for the kind of stress level that we – particularly women – have been trying to place on them in the last several years, but this past year in particular. And the many local facilities that are already overflowing with women who are in critical need of help bears this out.”

.General Contractor Randy Stallman, second from right, reviewing plans with three subcontractors at the former Becker County workhouse. (Submitted photo)
.General Contractor Randy Stallman, second from right, reviewing plans with three subcontractors at the former Becker County workhouse. (Submitted photo)

Hence the need for Recovery CR, which is a “uniquely qualified 501c3 nonprofit organization that was founded to offer desperately needed hope to women aged 18-80,” Isakson said, “by being able to meet their recovery needs through comprehensive residential/in-patient and outpatient programs and relapse prevention services.”

Recovery CR will provide the consistency and stability that are hallmark features in working with individuals in recovery, she added.

Recovery CR is looking for donations, Isakson said. “There remains a portion of the initial start-up costs and first four months of operating expenses that is still in need of support capital,” she said.

To donate, or make a monthly pledge, call 218-844-4411, check out the website: www.RecoveryCR.org, or contact Midwest Bank for anonymity and direct deposit information.

Opening a women’s-only treatment facility in Detroit Lakes would be an asset to Becker County residents, said Emma Wartman, a supervisor with Becker County Human Services. “Accessing treatment locally can allow for strong continuity of care between substance use disorder providers, mental health providers, case managers, and family contact, which strengthens treatment success,” she said.

Recovery CR is one of two women's treatment centers being developed in Detroit Lakes. The other will be located in The Refuge building in the Detroit Lakes industrial park. Both were granted certificates of need by Becker County.