Rae and David Green are continuing to beautify the Grand Rapids landscape with the purchase of a second iconic mansion. It will be renovated and restored to its original glory by a team of artisans who specialize in historic buildings. The Hazeltine mansion, built in 1890, will serve as a residential and outpatient drug and alcohol treatment center for men. Located at 221 John Street, it is slated to open for operation, with capacity for twenty male residents, in May of 2017.
Gender Specific Treatment
Following the success of Sanford House at Cherry Street, an addiction treatment center for women, the Greens have been looking for a men’s facility. Their goal is to create the same type of gender specific environment for men, that has worked so well for women in their Cherry Street location. This time they will incorporate treatment focused on male needs and male approaches to communication and interaction.
We sat down with the Greens to discuss their newest venture.
Q&A with The Greens:
What will the new facility be called?
David: Sanford House at John Street. The original, women’s treatment center will be called Sanford House at Cherry Street.
Why did you decide on the house at John Street for your men’s facility?
Rae: Honestly? It looks masculine. When we bought Sanford House, it seemed gracious and welcoming. Research has shown that women respond best in gender specific, safe, treatment environments. The house had a feminine, cozy feel. When we walked into John Street, with all the carved wood and fireplaces with hunting tiles, it seemed like a man’s house. We knew it was the right place immediately.
David: This house is the Midwestern version of a Cape Cod stone and cedar shake “cottage”. The massive stone walls seemed to symbolize strength. The naturally private location is in keeping with our mission to maintain client confidentially. The house is perched on a hill with a great breeze from the valley. It just seemed like a metaphor for our company philosophy. That is, to allow our residents to reclaim their interests and experience snippets of town and country while in the security of treatment.
What kind of renovation will you do and do you feel like you’ve learned from your previous restoration project?
David: The carved wood finishes are in good shape, but the house has definitely seen its better days. We are planning to bring the house back to its original splendor. We have begun to hire local craftsmen and old-school artisans. In fact, the artist who is restoring the windows is basically moving in – setting up shop on the second floor until the job is done.
We have learned a lot from the previous project. Particularly about the exigencies of working in an historic district. And this time, our son Alec is on board as project manager.
Rae: It is interesting to note the history of the John Street house. It was built by the President of the Hazeltine-Perkins Drug Company in 1890, but since the 1930s it has not been a single family home. From 1930 to 1974, it operated as the Elmcrest Home for Girls and later as The Bridges Home for Runaway Children. Most recently, it was home to a fine, wood-instruments manufacturer. It’s known as “the house on the hill”. The location is perfect for our privacy needs. We are excited to take this historic structure on another adventure…
Why when things are going so well in the women’s facility are you opening a men’s rehab? Are there aspects of what you do that apply to men and women?
David: We have been urged to open a men’s facility for some time. We feel, based on these influencers and the calls we receive daily, that there is a real need for a gender responsive men’s treatment facility. Many of our operational processes and our CARF accreditations are transferable.
Rae: But gender specific treatment is more than identifying therapy specific to males and females. It also addresses the underlying, core issues for the addiction itself. We will address how best to treat the disease of addiction in men and women. Oftentimes men seek treatment when they have lost their jobs or careers due to their addiction. Women tend to seek help when their relationships begin to unravel. We look forward to tailoring treatment to account for the behavioral differences in men and women.
What about the gardens?
David: We have already made strides by cutting back some of the bushes and mowing the lawn. We plan to bring back the original gardens in the same way we did with Sanford House at Cherry Street. We will bring in an arborist in the spring and our goal is to create a living, arborvitaes wall for privacy.
Anything else we should know?
David: This is a big house. It lends itself to a larger population of residents. We will have a house manager’s office; a first floor handicap bedroom and bathroom; a large kitchen; a larger dining room; several group therapy rooms; outside porches and decks; a doctor’s office and secure medication storage; and a basement fitness room. The house has 7 1/2 bathrooms and ample space to separate the men into manageable groups .
Rae: As David mentioned, many of our operational processes can be streamlined by applying them to both houses. We are also able to apply the international accreditation we received from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) to our new facility. It means we will administer the same standards of excellence to the John Street treatment center we currently use at Cherry Street. But make no mistake, a gender specific men’s facility is different than a gender specific women’s facility. This new journey is exciting and energizing!
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