Residents Upset over Possible Plans to Turn Golf Course into Rehab Facility

SMITHFIELD TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Residents in the Poconos are upset with possible plans to turn a country club into a rehabilitation center for people struggling with addiction.

The owner of Wolf Hollow Golf Course, also known as the Water Gap Country Club in Smithfield Township has applied for a permit change, hoping to turn his golf course into a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center.

The idea is a concern to people who live nearby.

The golf course usually doesn't see any action until the spring, but the place in Smithfield Township is getting a lot of attention after the owner announced plans to turn part of the course into a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center.

"I understand that people need help, but I don't think this is the right location for that type of facility," said Delaware Water Gap resident Nefertiti Campbell.

The owner of the course brought his proposal to the Smithfield Township board of supervisors earlier this week. He also applied for a permit change.

The plan is to covert the clubhouse into an inpatient facility with resident housing.

"This is what makes it very, very difficult. On one side you have people who are doing the best for the community by bringing something in that is new and different. On the other side, I understand what everyone is saying and it's a very tough call," said township supervisor Robert Loveheim.

Township supervisors say there are a lot of different factors they need to look into before the next meeting, where they will either approve or deny the application.

Tony Ganci lives in Delaware Water Gap and fears this kind of facility will drive down property values and cause problems in the community.

"You don't take a drug rehabilitation center and put it in this kind of area. It's not right, it's shameful. People invest here, we have a fine community, a real sense of community and then this happens. It's going to destroy our property values," Ganci said.

Calls to the owner were not returned.

A public hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, March 20. However, township officials say those interested in going should keep an eye out for the correct time and location due to the possibility of large crowds.

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