EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

November 12, 2012

Sober house may be eyeing college campus

Residents raise concerns

(Continued)

The project in Derry was resisted by businesses and neighbors who opposed the facility, but there has been no outcry since Granite House opened it.

“The community has embraced us,” Spofford said. “On a daily basis, we’ve been a resource for the community.”

He resented the characterization of clients in the email as inmates.

“We don’t have any business with the Department of Corrections whatsoever,” Spofford said. “We don’t deal with parolees.”

The clientele has included sons of doctors, lawyers and CEOs, he said.

“These guys need a place to go,” he said.

Spofford expressed frustration with what he described as “the broken mindset” about people in recovery at halfway houses.

“Guys in sobriety are not breaking laws,” he said.

For any future project Granite House would have an open house, a meet-and-greet, a question-and-answer session as a first step, Spofford said.

Web Anderson, one of about 50 Chester residents who received the email this week, said townspeople were concerned.

“People were kind of up in arms about it,” he said.

Anderson wonders whether the former college campus is appropriate for such a program.

“There would be nothing for them to do,” he said. “This seems like an inappropriate location to me.”

Chester College closed earlier this year due to financial problems.

Parcels, including more than 70 acres, went on the market over the summer for more than $2.65 million.

Anderson said he doesn’t have an answer for the best use of the former college campus.

“I’d hope it’s something creative and beneficial to the community, as well as the occupants,” Anderson said. “I don’t see a big commercial operation going in there at all.”

Herbert Rowell also received the email. He said he didn’t know enough about the proposal, but admitted it might be a concern to him.

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