NORTHAMPTON, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — Western Mass News is getting answers on a Northampton storefront that’s been vacant for months.
The building that used to house La Fiorentina Bakery will soon open its doors again, hoping to tackle drugs and addiction in the community.
You can see the sign in the window from where La Fiorentina Bakery closed in August after decades of business.
Now the building will be renovated and will be the new home of the Northampton Recovery Center (NRC).
Western Mass News spoke with the program director, Lynne Ferro who told us the center could be up running in a matter of a few months.
“We probably have maybe 60 or 70 unique people, so we could easily double that,” Ferro said.
Ferro from the Northampton Recovery Center told Western Mass News she has high hopes for the old La Fiorentina Bakery location in the city.
Ferro said the NRC needed to move somewhere bigger in order to expand their services.
“The state funding that we got required us to be in over 2000 square feet. And where we were was only 1000 square feet so we had to move in order take the funding,” Ferro explained.
Ferro said the NRC is a community space, to help those coming out of detox, residential rehab or incarceration, continue their recovery from addiction.
Once the renovation permits are obtained, Ferro walked us through the old bakery, re-imagined as a recovery space.
“We’ll have a large meeting room, we’ll have a small meeting room, we’ll have a room where a recovery coach can meet with someone. We don’t anticipate moving in until May,” Ferro noted.
John Sullivan, one of that volunteers-turned-employee, said the bakery location will help the center achieve more visibility to the rest of Northampton.
“I’ve volunteered at the center since October 2017, basically doing the same things, so it’s kind of neat to be employed there now,” Sullivan said.
The move and the funding have allowed the NRC to hire staff from what was initially a base of volunteers.
“I think the walk by is great because the only thing we really suffer from is not everybody knows about us,” Sullivan explained.
Residents, including Ian Davis, said the juxtaposition between downtown commerce and a center focused on addiction will help normalize recovery.
“In times of immense economic inequality, it seems like a very positive thing. A lot of these restaurants here in downtown are very expensive. I will miss the cannolis that were at the café, very good that will be missed. But this seems like a fine thing to come in its place,” Davis noted.
Now, last week, Western Mass News reported on the state departments report that opioid overdose deaths are down in the state.
Local organizations say that is untrue with regards to western Massachusetts and that overdose deaths here are on the rise.
We asked the director of the NRC and she said their move to this new location will help them with outreach to struggling populations that might not always ask for help.
Source: Thanks https://www.westernmassnews.com/news/northampton-recovery-center-opening-in-former-la-fiorentina-bakery/article_ebc99e22-51ce-11ea-8f4c-43532e2b9541.html