In today’s Herald: A glimpse inside

Juvenile Facility

On Monday, The Herald’s Chelsea Kellner and photographer Brooke Wolfe made a trip to Greensboro to visit the Level IV juvenile treatment facility there.
For the past month, we’ve reported on the neighborhood along Hawkins Avenue in Sanford’s grassroots movement to keep a similar facility from being built at the 700 block of the street, located just north of Sanford.
Chelsea and Brooke were given a tour of the Greensboro center, called Youth Focus, and talked to a few of the neighbors who live nearby. What they saw — and what’s in today’s story — is a facility that has the look and feel of a school, only that it has the security of a small jail.
The purpose of our trip and the story was to tell another side of this issue. The Herald has made several attempts to reach the Hawkins Avenue landowner who’s obtained preliminary approval to build the facility, but to no avail. So we felt the next best way in finding out what to expect from a facility like this was to see one for ourselves.
We understand there are differences between the Greensboro facility and the one slated to be built in Sanford. But it is a close representation, and we hope it gave Hawkins Avenue and all Lee County residents a better idea of what to expect if the movement to keep it away fails.
Our intention for the story was not to promote the facility for Sanford. Nor has our coverage of the movement against it been in favor of the Hawkins residents. We’re simply trying to tell both sides.
Now, knowing what I read and what Chelsea and Brooke have told me about their trip — would I still want a juvenile treatment facility built next door to me? The answer is probably no. There are safety concerns (the director in Greensboro said there have been fewer than 10 escapes in the 17 years it’s existed, but that’s still nearly 10 escapes. None of them were violent residents and no crimes were commmitted, but still … that doesn’t make me sleep easier at night).
And there are concerns about property values, residents moving away and a neighborhood losing its identity.
The Herald’s editorial board will discuss the issue and write about it in a future edition of The Herald.

Click here for Chelsea’s story.

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