Commissioners take issue with article on drug rehab

In the summer of 2017, the director of Oriana House, Jason Varney, approached the Washington County Commissioners about possibly using a portion of the (Washington) County Home as a drug rehabilitation facility. Eager to help provide additional local services to those seeking to free themselves from substance abuse, and equally eager to assist the county home in defraying costs, the commissioners introduced Varney to county home director, Jeff Campbell.

Over the course of the next 10 months, the two worked to see if an agreement could be fashioned. Keeping in mind the privacy of both their respective residents, the two directors determined that certain building alterations would be necessary for the project to move forward. To that end, Varney made contact with an architect to draw up proposed plans for the new facility. Additionally, he corresponded with the Southeast Ohio Building Department, the entity that would oversee the project.

In meetings with Director Campbell, Varney expressed a need for a new second egress door, a number of new showers, and additional parking. The two discussed a lease agreement that would cover utilities, taxes, food services, laundry services, trash removal, and other services. In the end, Campbell estimated the project would require Oriana House to pay approximately $10,000 per month for these services. Once the figure was mentioned, Oriana House interest waned and the project was put on hold.

Just this past week, we learned that Oriana House has an interest in purchasing the now vacant Woman’s Home on Third Street in Marietta. In a newspaper article on the proposed move, Varney laid the blame for the failure of the county home project at the feet of the commissioners. Nothing could be further from the truth. We would love to see the project move forward as it would serve the two aforementioned goals. Furthermore, we agree with the residents of Third Street (and especially those families with children at St. Mary School), that the Woman’s Home is not the right choice for such a facility.

We stand ready to work with Oriana House to help them find a suitable facility in another location.

Rick Walters, president

David White, vice president

Ron Feathers

Washington County Board of Commissioners