A group of Evans business owners expressed outrage this morning at the prospect of a methadone clinic coming to their shopping center.
The owners of such stores as PeachMac, Learning Express and Superior Self-Defense Academy, met today to discuss the inclusion of a rehabilitation facility for drug addicts in the Park Place shopping center on Washington Road across from Club Car.
Most considered the treatment center a death knell for their businesses.
“I, for one, consider it a fatal blow,” PeachMac owner Darryl Peck said to his fellow tenants. “This is going to stop traffic to our stores in a heartbeat.”
Peck said he learned of the clinic two weeks ago from electricians working in the space it will occupy. Since then, Peck said he has left phone messages with property owner George Snelling of Snelling Properties LLP with no return call.
Jason Herrera, owner of Superior dance and martial arts academies, said he did speak with Snelling.
“He does know that’s going on, but there is a sense of not caring,” Herrera said.
Snelling said today in a phone interview that his tenants are “making a mountain out of a mole hill.”
He noted that the clinic, operated by Valdosta, Ga., based Treatment Centers of America, will be open only from 7-11 a.m. each day. Snelling also said that it caters to a middle-class clientele, not “inner-city, low-rent” addicts.
In addition to Valdosta, Treatment Centers of America also owns Georgia clinics in Waycross, Brunswick, Fayette, Newnan and Kennesaw.
However, Peck said he researched those locations and none of those clinics are located within a retail shopping center.
Melissa Dixon, an administrative office manager for Treatment Centers of America, refused to confirm that the business is opening a clinic in Evans.
To combat Snelling’s refusal to drop Treatment Centers of America as a tenant, Peck said he intends to author a letter to Snelling in which he and other tenants will threaten to withhold rent until the clinic closes.
If any tenant refuses to pay rent, Snelling said he will evict them.
“I’m not letting George Snelling kill my business,” Peck said. “I’m willing to be sued by George. I’m willing to have my day in court with George.”
Reach Donnie Fetter at (706) 868-1222, ext. 115,