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Turning Point Turned Down

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Turns out the Turning Point Recovery Center of Chittenden County won't be moving to Burlington's Old North End after all -- last week the Development Review Board unanimously rejected its application. According to its mission statement, the nonprofit organization helps addicts and alcoholics "find, maintain and enhance their recovery experience through peer support, sober recreation and educational opportunities." Turning Point had planned to move to 194 North Street.

Progressive City Counselors Tim Ashe, Philip Fiermonte and Cheryl McDonough all filed letters opposing the plan before a February 15 public hearing. Though some residents spoke in favor of the center, most opposed it. Before the hearing, several residents and city officials said they feared the project, which is funded by grants from the Health Department, would reinforce North Street's reputation as "a dumping ground for social services."

Kirsten Merriman Shapiro, the North Street Revitalization Coordinator, said the application was rejected because the DRB and Old North End residents felt that the proposed "sober club" did not fit with the city's plans for the street. The preference is to bring in businesses to strengthen the tax base.

Shapiro says she hopes Turning Point can find another home in Burlington. "We're going to work with them to try to find something that will work," she said.

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