Ravenswood Council hears from addiction ministry, approves more Small Business Grant funds

Suzette Lowe
Connie Dunlap, board member for Ravenswood’s Broken Chains Addiction Recovery Ministry, addresses city council.

Drug overdoses have increased in the past year by 22 percent in West Virginia. This rise has impacted Jackson County and the need for a recovery house in Jackson County is vital.

That was the message brought to Ravenswood City Council at its April 7 meeting.

Felisha and David Scott spoke passionately about the organization Broken Chains which provides that support for those trying to turn from substance abuse.

The Scotts are both recovering addicts who detailed their own struggle.

“After stints in rehab, we always came back to Ravenswood,” said Felisha. “There was no long-term support of any kind, so it was easy to just go back to drugs. Then we found Broken Chains, and everything changed.”

Broken Chains Addiction Recovery Ministry, a non-profit faith-based organization, has the goal of purchasing a building to fulfill supervised housing, self-help and treatment meetings. Also, under consideration is purchasing land and constructing a facility. The program will be guided by the Fletcher Group which has established a highly effective Recovery Kentucky program.

While the presentation was not targeting a monetary donation, the Scotts, who serve as program administrators, said initial fundraising has begun and will continue.

Connie Dunlap, board member and grant writer for Broken Chains, said that financial support would be needed.

“We will apply for grants once we find the housing,” she said. “We hope that the community will see the value in our efforts and give us that support.”

Council members expressed appreciation for the efforts and will seek information regarding other local governments contributions to similar projects.

Local businesses within the Ravenswood city limits received a boost.

The Jackson County Development Authority’s Small Business Grant Program has offered an opportunity for five businesses in Ravenswood to be awarded $1,500 for improvements to the façade. Council members voted to allocate $7,500 to the Ravenswood Development Authority for five more businesses to receive funding. That money will be taken from the general government fund which contains the original Cares Act allotment. Improvements could include signage, paint, pressure washing and other outside work.

One area that has not seen much action is through no fault of the council or mayor.

“We haven’t received much direction, or even the first payment, from the most recent stimulus money,” said Mayor Josh Miller. “Right now, it is just water, sewer and broadband that are the targets. I think that will expand going forward but, for now, we just wait for guidance.”

One plan that is moving forward is the Marina Project.

The mayor said phase one, which is the Sand Creek area, is getting ready to do the required mussel study. Drawings are being completed for the project, which includes a parking lot and docks for jet skis and small boats.

In other business, council members Dee Scritchfield, Nick Fox, Denise Toler, Steve Tucker and City Recorder Jared Bloxton, with Amanda Slaven not present:

  • Learned City Wide Cleanup will be May 3-7.
  • Learned that progress on the medical cannabis dispensary depends on the growth and processing of the product which is currently taking place.
  • Learned the city pool will open Memorial Day weekend.
  • Approved three vehicles from the city police and two from the Ravenswood maintenance department as assets for surplus, with plans to either use as trade-ins or sold through govdeals.com.
  • Appointed Tim Salser and Amanda Slaven to the Ravenswood Development Authority.
  • Asked Chief of Police Lance Morrison to report in May his recommendation for possible speed bump locations.

A closed-door executive session began at 8:17 p.m. to discuss Ravenswood fire department personnel. Upon adjournment, no action was taken.

The next meeting of the council will be Tuesday, April 20, at 7 p.m. at city hall.