New drug rehab facility wants to open in former Sovereign Health location

A building once owned by Sovereign Health is stirring up controversy in a Fort Myers neighborhood again.

It used to be a drug rehab facility in a residential area on the Caloosahatchee River.

And now, two former Sovereign Health workers want to open a new drug rehabilitation facility called Evolve, in the same location. Something nearby homeowners don’t want on East Riverside Drive.

Homeowners in the neighborhood are concerned because they don’t want a repeat. They say the facility should be elsewhere and not in the the middle of a neighborhood.

MORESovereign Health closes after lengthy battle with the city of Fort Myers

Neighbor Mary Allen recalls the time when Sovereign Health was in business, “I’ve lived here, which is eight years now. It’s a quiet neighborhood and it wasn’t quiet when that was here.”

She says there was a lot of complaints in the neighborhood,”This woman here, one of the patients from there came over knocking on her door in the middle of the night or something, and like I said, it wasn’t secure.”

Neighbors are arguing the property was meant for senior living.

MORESovereign Health drug and rehab facility forced to shut down drug services

“It would just be nice if it would go back to being assisted living,” Allen said. “It’s a beautiful spot and the cottages are adorable.”

The owners of Evolve are now attempting to get the property rezoned. The property is currently owned by Florentine Holdings.

But the city says it will have to get approval from the Council and the public before moving forward.

Neighbors say putting the facility on East Riverside wouldn’t be safe, especially since the facility would be so close to schools.

Neighbor Sarah Meckley says, “There’s a law that says if your a sex offender you can’t be within so many miles of schools so who’s going into this facility? Are they taking that into consideration.”

Neighbors say they plan to protest if the City considers rezoning the property.

Reporter:Brea Hollingsworth
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