Joliet votes Tuesday on resolution to kill plan for opioid recovery center

Zoning board recommended approval, but city staff wants City Council to block project

A proposal to build an opioid recovery center on the former Silver Cross Hospital campus in Joliet faces opposition from City Hall.

The plan has been put on the Joliet City Council agenda Tuesday in the form of a resolution to deny approval of the special use permit needed to build the facility.

Volunteers of America Illinois wants to build 42 apartments to provide residences and services for women recovering from opioid addiction. The apartments, which also would provide housing for children of the women in recovery, would be built across Copperfield Avenue from Hope Manor Joliet, an apartment complex for homeless veterans that VOA Illinois opened in 2017.

City Manager James Capparelli is recommending denial of the new project in a memo to the council. The recommendation, according to the memo, is “based on further information that has been provided” since the Zoning Board of Appeals unanimously recommended approval of the project in September.

The memo does not say what information was provided, and Capparelli did not return a call for comment.

After the ZBA vote, the VOA Illinois plan was to go the council for a final vote Oct. 19. But the plan has not been put on the council agenda until now.

Council member Bettye Gavin, who represents the area where the apartments would be built, at recent council meetings has been calling for the VOA Illinois project to be put on the council agenda.

Gavin could not be reached for comment, and VOA Illinois did not return a call for comment.

The plan did face questions at the ZBA meeting from one neighbor of the site who was concerned about security at the facility.

VOA Illinois President and CEO Nancy Hughes Moyer said the facility would be staffed at all times and would have the same level of security as Hope Manor Joliet.

The plan is to build two three-story buildings at 1301 Copperfield Ave. with a parking area and small playground.

The project received backing at the ZBA meeting from Dr. Scott Dubois, coordinator for the Will County State’s Attorney’s problem-solving courts program aimed at helping drug offenders get treatment.