Park Heights community against treatment center

Posted at 5:56 PM, Mar 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-30 06:19:00-04

Danita Maryland, the owner of ABC Child Development Center, and some other Park Heights residents first learned about the proposed methadone clinic at 5260 Park Heights Avenue at the end of last year.

Maryland expressed her opposition to the treatment facility that would be steps away from her day care center back then and firmly maintains that stance today.

“The loitering, people standing around, the drug activity, we don't want our kids exposed to that,” said Maryland.

She and some other local activists have been working to convince the owner, Moshe Markowitz, to open the clinic elsewhere.

“We've tried to introduce a bill to the Senate, bill 569 that would propose that you cannot put a methadone clinic within 500 feet of an education facility, a community and that was for the whole state of Maryland to protect all the kids,” Maryland said.

The bill is still in the finance committee, supporters are unsure if it will make it through the General Assembly this year.

Several community leaders have also met with Markowitz and city council leaders, but they've yet to reach an agreement.

“They were concerned because they paid quite bit of money on this property I said well that's the way life is, you know, you put something in there and make money off it but not a drug clinic,” said Neighborhoods United president George Mitchell and lifetime Park Heights resident.

Mitchell acknowledges the drug epidemic and understands the need for treatment facilities, but he’s been trying to urge Markowitz to think twice about the location.

“How we raise our kids that's going to determine our future and we can't have kids exposed to drug clinics,” Mitchell said. He thinks an e-library or sit-down restaurant would better serve the community.

Tyrone Jones’ two grandkids attend the ABC Child Development Center and said there was too much risk involved in placing a methadone clinic so close to a child care facility.

“Everybody has the right to clean-up but then if you have a few that go wrong then you could have a situation,” Jones said.

Mitchell said his next step is to reach out again to Markowitz to arrange a sit-down meeting to try and reach a solution. If that doesn't work, Maryland said she’s prepared to keep petitioning.

“If the clinic does go there we will start protesting because we want to protect our kids,” she said.

ABC2 was unable to reach Markowitz for comment. Mitchell said in his last conversation with Markowitz he indicated that if the clinic were to open it could be in as little as six months.

There will be a prayer meeting Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. in front of the ABC Child Development Center located at 5276 Park Heights Ave. to discuss the need to relocate the proposed treatment center somewhere else.

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