A defunct ski resort north of Park Rapids is being considered as a site for a long-term chemical dependency treatment center.
The serenity and tranquility of Val Chatel is the perfect spot to allow people to heal, said Mary Greer, program director of Restore House Inc.
The ski lodge, south of Lake George, is deteriorating rapidly and needs an owner, Greer maintains. Restore House has had a home in Bemidji for the past four years and would like to expand its treatment facility to the Park Rapids area, she said.
The ski lodge and runs were built in 1953, sold 30 years later to the Headwaters Society and eventually hosted an outdoor production called Viking! in the late 1980s. It was then privately owned until 2007. An estate sale was held in 2010.
It is now owned by State Bank of Park Rapids. The 180 acres off County Road 4 are listed for $875,000.
"They have turned down our first offer," Greer said of the purchase negotiations. "If we can negotiate a price, there's the county commissioners, the Environmental Services Office and licensing through the Minnesota Department of Health and the fire marshal. So it's going to be a process."
She said Restore House has a proven track record and would like to continue, serving the residents of Hubbard County.
She said the facility would be serving a need. Most other treatment centers are for 28 days with detox.
"We're a long-term treatment center so we get people a length of time where they're in recovery and we also work with them connecting with the community.
Residents are asked to find a church, a mentor and eventually a job and housing.
"We're looking at a supportive housing job, one more transition piece before a person might live on their own," she explained.
Group living helps support people undergoing addiction counseling and "helps keep them accountable," she said.
The item was on last week's county board agenda but was pulled before the meeting.
"We didn't really want to waste people's time," Greer said. A number of details, including the purchase price, need to be negotiated before Restore House seeks county approval.
"We want the community to be accepting of this, too," Greer said. "The community is a big part of this whole thing."
Residents volunteer in their respective communities, Greer said, and have assured skeptics that residential treatment facilities are good neighbors and good citizens.
Citizens of Hubbard, Beltrami and Clearwater counties have to go to Crookston or East Grand Forks as the nearest treatment facilities available, Greer said.
If relocated here, the facility would employ up to 20 people. Supportive housing would also be needed, she said, in addition to jobs.
"We want to start getting to know people from the community," she said.
Restore House is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. They write grants for United Way funds and other awards. The actual treatment is paid for by county and state funds and state insurance programs.
The time of treatment "depends on what they've been involved with, the amount of time they've been involved with, drugs or alcohol," she said. "Some people might only need 30 days, which really is not the norm. Some people might need three months, four months, six months. It just depends.
"We work with families and children," she said. "Reconciliation with husbands and wives and family counseling" are all a part of the program.