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UPDATE: A mansion in Hobart won't become a substance abuse treatment facility

Posted at 5:42 PM, Jun 14, 2024

HOBART (NBC 26) — Summit Behavioral Health, LLC says opposition from Hobart residents played a role in the company's decision to not buy an empty mansion on Fonda Fields Court.

  • Get a bird's eye view of the mansion one company wanted to turn into a treatment facility for people struggling with substance abuse issues.
  • On Friday, the village of Hobart announced on their Facebook page the company which asked the village for permission to turn the property into a treatment center backed out of their plan.
  • Village President Rich Heidel says he would not rule out the possibility of a similar facility coming to Hobart in the future.

Plans have fallen through to turn a Hobart mansion into a substance abuse treatment facility after the company that wanted to buy the place backed out on Friday.
Dr. Andrew Keifert said he wasn't opposed when he learned of a company's plans to turn a mansion near his chiropractic office into a substance abuse treatment facility.

"I think that there's, you know, probably a shortage of behavioral and mental health specialists, so having another high-end hub like that for people would probably be good for our community," he said. "If that's what went there, it would probably be good for my business. [People at facilities like that] need chiropractic and body work probably more than the rest of us."

But, many of his neighbors didn't feel the same way. After a village meeting earlier this month where many community members spoke against the plan Summit Behavioral Health, LLC decided not to buy the property on Fonda Fields Court.

"I did know from the outset that, at a minimum, there'd be a lot of community interest and input," Hobart Village President Rich Heidel said.

Outside the mansion on Friday afternoon, he said he was undecided on the issue, planning to wait to make up his mind until the continued public hearing on July 2.

Heidel said at the village planning commission meeting, he moved to accept the company's application in order to "Move the process forward." However, he says this does not mean he would have voted in favor of it at the village board level.

"I am myself a recovering alcoholic," Heidel said. "So I'm very familiar with the merits of a project like this and the need for a project like this ... On the other hand though, there are considerations that need to be made. You know, the fit in the location, the clientele, the operational plan, the traffic volume."

As we previously reported, community members said the neighborhood wasn't right for this kind of center, citing safety concerns.

Hobart-Lawrence police compiled data from other police departments near facilities owned by the same company in other communities, noting 9-1-1 calls, trespassing, a reported arson and a reported sexual assault.

Summit Behavioral Health Vice President of Development John Flanagan said community push back played a role in their decision to pull out.

"We just decided that we don't feel like it as a good fit for us," he said over the phone on Friday, saying the company already owns and operates two psychiatric hospitals in the state.

He said they're looking for a community where the idea would be embraced

"We're going to come to Green Bay, it's just a matter of when and where," Flanagan said.

Summit Behavioral Health is now looking at a couple of different properties within 30 miles of the city of Green Bay for the treatment facility.

Heidel says the village of Hobart will likely bring the process to a formal close at their meeting on July 2.