Controversy Over Treatment Center

Tabitha Carpentar, Works in the area
Tabitha Carpentar, Works in the area
Allen Graves, AWARE's Executive Director
Allen Graves, AWARE's Executive Director

Convicts and former drug addicts may be moving into an amarillo neighborhood... Where some say they are not wanted.

The AWARE program is wanting to start a residential treatment program in the area of Southwest 8th. Much to the dislike of some residents and businesses owners in the area.

The program goes for their planning and zoning clearance tomorrow at 3 pm, in front of Amarillo City Commissioners.

The plan is to have 20 men and 10 women living in this building.

They are still waiting for final clearance for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to partner with them for the program

we spoke with residents who are upset over the program possibly moving in. Some are even  handing out these flyers hoping to keep this building from become, what they call, just another problem in their neighborhood.

Tabitha Carpentar, who works in the area says, "I think it facilitates more drama in our area, more police work in our area. We have spent a lot of money to upgrade our downtown area, not to continuing degrading our downtown."

Shelter leaders say the program will help change participants into active and important members of the community.

Allen Graves, AWARE's Executive Director says, "Come back into the community where they actually committed the crime go through a treatment program where they can stabilize, learn skills, help them behave appropiotly become productive individuals."

Graves says he knows people can change... He is one of them. "I'm an ex-heroin addict. I have a masters degree in counseling."

Graves says he turned his life around with help. Just something he is trying to do for others.

But in an area where drugs and crime are seen often, those who have to be in the area say one more outlet of help, is just one more problem.

Carpentar says, "All this is doing is addition, just adding to what's already a problem in our downtown area."

Organizers say they understand why some would be apprehensive to the idea.

Plainview Serenity Center Director, Paul Walker, who is partnering with Graves "If I lived here, 100 feet from here, I would probably have some concerns but the aware program and the plainview serenity center, we are going to answer your questions and we are going to be good neighbors."

If approved, organizers hope to have the facility up and running in as soon as they can.