Eleven years after it was badly damaged in Hurricane Ivan, a North Side facility for recovering drug addicts remains unused and empty, but its owners remain hopeful that it will reopen one day.
The former chairman of Canaan Land rehabilitation center, William Peguero, said the last time he checked the place, some years ago, the structure and layout of the buildings were still sound. The buildings stand amid overgrown brush.
He said there is a tremendous need for the facility in the community. “We know the country could benefit from it … but the reality is, we are overwhelmed with so many other things going on for it to take priority right now.”
Mr. Peguero estimates it will take between half a million and a million dollars to get it up and running.
He said the intention had always been to resurrect the facility.
“If something constructive is presented, I am certain the family would be more than interested in looking at it,” he said.
Founded by Ellen Peguero, Peter van der Bol, Alison Ebanks and Mac Gober in 1998, Canaan Land was a non-profit, non-denominational Christian home that once helped addicts turn their lives around.
Located off Hutland Road, North Side, it was described at the time as “a place of spiritual edification for broken lives,” that worked closely with the courts, probation services, churches and government to assisting adult male addicts to overcome their substance dependency.
“Regrettably, nothing has changed since 2005, when a group from Alabama came to try and rebuild Canaan Land,” Mr. Peguero said, “but that was not enough. We did a lot but we were still short.”
To use the existing structure, they would have to bring it up to current building code standards, he said.
Mr. Peguero said his wife and her family, who own the site, have no desire to sell the land.
“My wife Ellen’s grandmother willed the property to her children – who in turn allowed part of the property to be used as Canaan Land some 20 years ago,” he said.
Mr. Peguero said anyone interested in supporting the reopening of the facility can contact him through the Frank Sound Church of God in North Side.