WELCOMING MCLEAN INTO CAMDEN IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO
I am writing to support the minor zoning change that will allow the nationally acclaimed McLean Hospital to operate a residential recovery center at Fox Hill in Camden because it is the right thing to do. I receive no financial benefits from McLean Hospital or Fox Hill. I raised a son in Camden who still has residency there with his extended family, I lived there for many years, and for many years I worked as an addiction counselor and prevention coordinator serving families and teens in Camden. Nothing about the zoning change requested for McLean makes it possible to automatically allow any other use of that location. It is already possible without zoning changes to build a subdivision of 7 or more McMansions on those 13.8 acres. McLean's presence will actually preserve the neighborhood and preserve the unique nature of the Fox Hill property.
In truth, I am writing this letter for my Uncle, a highly decorated US Army Lt Colonel who survived three wars only to return home to die miserably of late stage alcoholism. Or maybe I am writing this for the dying infant I cared for in the basement of the San Joaquin County Hospital who was born with fatal fetal alcohol syndrome because her mother could not stop drinking. Or perhaps I am doing this for the creative and charismatic childhood friend who drank and used drugs until alcoholic depression took his life. It has been said that every person in our culture knows someone who has been murdered by alcoholism. Preventing this disease takes education and all of us must be involved: professional health care providers; volunteers; parents; students; clergy; recovering alcoholics and addicts; and local media. McLean has a deep and verifiable history of doing education outreach and prevention work in every community where they are located. They have proven not just to be good neighbors, but an exceptional source of taxes, revenue, and education.
The Camden community has a historic opportunity to send a message of hope throughout Camden, the Mid-Coast; and all of Maine. In the recent past an addiction prevention and treatment program funded directly by Camden voters served as a model for other towns throughout Maine. Camden has shown itself to be a town of leaders and thoughtful voters who have done the right thing in the past and, I believe, will do the right thing now.