Proposed Recovery Center Plans In Wicomico Nixed

SALISBURY – Officials in Wicomico County will not move forward with a project to convert a shuttered correctional facility into a drug treatment and recovery center after learning a service provider withdrew its proposal.

On Tuesday, the Wicomico County Council was scheduled to discuss the proposed operation of a drug treatment and recovery center at the shuttered Poplar Hill Pre-Release Unit in Quantico. But before the meeting began, Council Administrator Laura Hurley announced the work session had been removed from the agenda.

“We were informed that the service provider has withdrawn their proposal and the county executive will not be pursuing on this project at this time …,” she said. “The county council will not be holding a public hearing on that project.”

Since last July, county leaders have spearheaded efforts to convert the shuttered, state-owned correctional facility into a 23-hour center for detox services, residential treatment and recovery housing.

As a facilitator, the county tasked itself with seeking a service provider to operate the center and working with state officials to lease the vacant facility. By February, the county had received a $972,000 state grant to renovate the building and a bid from a service provider to operate a drug treatment and recovery program.

But a resolution to accept the state grant was tabled last month after council members said they were hesitant to take the money without a clear plan for how the center would operate.

To that end, state officials agreed to postpone the deadline for accepting the grant to April 16 while county officials arranged a public hearing for members of the community. County officials also scheduled a work session with the council Tuesday to further discuss how the service provider would operate the facility.

In a separate interview this week, County Executive Bob Culver said the service provider – Connections Community Support Programs – withdrew its proposal shortly after the council’s March work session with state officials.

“They took their bid off the table,” he said.

Culver said the county would no longer pursue the project at this time, but noted opportunities for state funding in the next fiscal year.

“The state still wants us to pursue this project, but now we are going to miss the deadline for accepting the grant,” he said. “We might still look into pursuing another state grant in 2020.”

Meanwhile, legislation in the Maryland General Assembly would require the commissioner of state corrections to operate a pre-release unit for women, and county officials believe Poplar Hill would be considered as a potential location.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.