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Bradenton City Council approves new addiction recovery center

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BRADENTON, FL (WWSB) - A new addiction treatment center will soon be coming to Bradenton after a public hearing this week.

The Bradenton City Council decided to allow the facility in a three to two vote.

It was a controversial vote for the council because this building is on the 1800 block of 5th Street West, which is less than half a mile from LECOM Park.

The notice of a public hearing on the front lawn signaled the new use for the vacant building, but the experts say a facility like this will only be beneficial if it's privately funded.

"If there's new programs coming in place that have built-in funding sources, awesome. That's great," said PJ Brooks, vice president of outpatient and youth services for First Step Sarasota. "But I know many of us are grappling with the issue of inadequate funding overall. Especially on the residential care side."

Brooks said the Florida Department of Corrections just reduced funding for residential treatment beds by 40 percent. 

"Remember Florida is 50th out of 50 states in funding for behavioral health needs," Brooks added.

The good news is, the new owner of the facility said he intends to offer all of these services with his own private funds. 

Dr. Syed Zaidi was unavailable for an on camera interview Friday, but said he was motivated to open the facility in the Bradenton area after hearing the dire need for it.

He said he will offer 60 residential beds for those in recovery.

"We don't have enough of those facilities, we don't have enough attention to the need for their therapy," said Dr. Washington Hill, senior physician for the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota. "The patient stays in that facility and stays and gets their treatment."

But from the perspective of someone who lives near the coming facility, this could go one of two ways. 

"I see the good and the bad. It could help them, as well as help the community," said Twynette Williams. "But then again, it could hurt the community."

Without dispute, it will bring a lost crowd to the new home on 5th street with great intentions of a better future.

"We'll just have to see what they do," said Dr. Hill.

The owner said he has been trying to move into the area for well over a year now. But why a recovery center? Dr. Zaidi said he was moved to fund a facility like this when his own son was kicked out of medical school after becoming addicted to drugs.

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Multi Media Journalist