Proposed Clairton Recovery House Project In Remodeled Church Hits Wall: ‘Not The Kind Of Thing We Want To Promote Here’

Follow KDKA-TV : Facebook | Twitter
CLAIRTON (KDKA) — It’s been hard times in Clairton since the steel job left and unemployment and the opioid crisis moved in.
As a 25-year state parole agent working there, Joyce Douglass has seen the lethal impact of heroin.
“Death and loss,” says Douglass. “Collateral damage on the families – children, parents grandparents.
Douglass hopes have been to turn the old St. Paulinus Church building and rectory into Cornerstone, a residential home for men recovering from addiction.
(Photo Credit: KDKA)
She says it would provide 8-10 recovering addicts a safe harbor to eat, sleep and learn to live clean and sober lives.
But the project has hit a wall. The city of Clairton says the use is not permitted in a residential zone and has denied Douglass an occupancy permit.
Several neighbors have also made their opposition clear.
“This has just been a nice, quiet neighborhood for as long as I can remember. I grew up in this neighborhood, and it’s just not the kind of thing we want to promote here,” said Tara Boyette, a Clairton resident.
Both sides have now squared off in federal and Common Pleas court, and a judge is expected to rule shortly on whether the project can move ahead.
The mayor declined comment, but former addict and chief operating officer Jim Sed has a personal stake in the project.
“I had a sober living residence myself that I lived in; but in my case, it was federal prison,” said Sed.
Cornerstone is working with local employers and wants to turn the church sanctuary into a job and skills training center to help the addicts make a successful transition.
This is what we’re going to provide here. We’ll provide the safety net, we’ll provide the employment, family reunification, and the opportunity to transition into a full, productive life,” Sed said.
Still, even though none of the men will have had a history of violence, the neighbors say safety remains their chief concern.
“I believe in giving people a second chance, but I think it’s no good for a residential neighborhood, and plus, the playground and there’s a lot of kid floating around here. Who knows what could happen,” said Clairton resident, Domenick Baccile.

Top News