KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — South Knoxville residents are concerned about a potential rehabilitation facility being next to an elementary school and a recreation center.
Dover Signature Properties is in the process of selling South High Senior Living to the McNabb Center, which plans to convert the building into a rehab facility.
In addition to residents and employees at South High being concerned about where they will live and work, they have also expressed worry over the potential rehab center being next to Dogwood Elementary School, along with neighbors like Lyn Grant.
“This whole thing doesn’t quite make sense to me, trading out a senior center for a drug rehabilitation center right next to not only an elementary school but the Cecil Webb [Recreation] Center behind it,” he said.
Grant lives directly across the street from South High Senior Living.
“I don’t want to cast aspersions on anybody who is an alcoholic, or a drug addict, or a fentanyl user and seller, but it just seems to me, you’re trading out seniors for [the rehab facility], being around children,” Grant said.
Tina Chavez is an employee at South High and echoed the same concerns.
“To be next to an elementary school, and you have drug addicts, alcoholism, I don’t think that’s right,” she said.
The facility will allow patients to check in and out on a voluntary basis, which is Chavez’s main concern.
“They could put it anywhere else but besides a school, the kids don’t need to see that, they need to see happy faces and everything else going on in the community,” Chavez said.
Leann Human-Hilliard is the executive vice president of the McNabb Center and said though the facility is voluntary, it is not a drop-in center.
“All of the people that we serve at that location are scheduled appointments, so we are expecting them to come in. They are coming in for their admission, it is not outpatient services,” she said. “So, you don’t have individuals coming in and out for an outpatient appointment or coming and going, or driving up making an appointment at that time. It is scheduled, they call ahead of time and we are expecting them for that appointment.”
Human-Hilliard also said patients will have a discharge plan made for them ahead of time.
“If an individual decides to leave before their course of treatment is ended, that doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t still do that discharge planning process, that’s still very important. So, part of that is, transportation, making sure that’s done well, as well as what other levels of care do they need even if they’re leaving before they recommend them to go,” she said.
The next step for the potential sale is for the rezoning of the building to be approved by the Knoxville-Knox County Planning Commission.