U.S. Sen. Angus King stopped by York County government offices in Alfred Friday to get an update on a new planned recovery center and a new first responder training center. Here, County Manager Greg Zinser points out where the the two buildings will be located on the grounds of York County Jail. York County Commission Chair Richard Dutremble, right, is looking on. Tammy Wells photo

ALFRED – U.S. Senator Angus King, I-Maine, stopped at York County government offices on Friday to have a look at the latest plans for a new, 58-bed recovery center and a separate first responder training center.

The recovery center will offer detoxification, residential beds, observation beds, and a host of other services to help people recover from opioid misuse.

The training center is designed to provide instruction – close to home – directed at fire and emergency medical services and at law enforcement.

Both will be built largely with funds from York County’s allotment of American Rescue Plan Act funds, some county money, and allocations this federal fiscal year of congressionally directed funds, including $1.9 million for the recovery center and $750,000 for the training center.

In all, the price tag for the two centers is about $30 million. Both buildings will be located on the grounds of York County Jail.

This is an architect’s rendering of a planned new recovery center, to be located on the grounds of York County Jail in Alfred. Courtesy image

King examined the designs and discussed the projects with York County Manager Greg Zinser and York County Commissioners.


“This is exciting,” said King. “This is community change, right here.”

Community change – something lasting that makes a lasting impact, is exactly what York County Commissioners were looking for as they considered how to best spend $40 million in rescue plan funds. They directed some money toward a regional teen center in Biddeford, to an agency in Kittery to help provide a hub for services for those who need a hand up, for a coastal dredge to help communities from Kittery north into Cumberland County, and for upgrades to ventilation systems and the like in county buildings. They then decided to build a new 58-bed recovery center which will replace the 24-bed center called Layman Way that is open only to those charged in the criminal justice system, whereas the the new center will be barrier free.  At the same time, they decided to build an educational center to help provide well trained personnel to fill openings for first responders and help communities retain those already employed.

Congressionally directed spending has been an important tool “because of exactly what you’re doing here,” King said. He reminded county officials of the March 17 deadline for requests for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, and said while he believes there will likely be congressionally directed spending funds available next year, he doesn’t know how robust the congressional funds may be.

An architect’s rendering of a planned first responder training center, to be located on the grounds of York County Jail in Alfred. Courtesy image

York County Fire Administrator Roger Hooper said a training center was contemplated many years ago but did not come to fruition.

“This will be the biggest single investment for first responders in Maine ever,“ Hooper said.

County Commissioner Robert Andrews said a man came to him who who was looking for recovery services — but could not find an available detox bed. The recovery center is important, he said, because there are few detox services, and most rarely have availability. As well, it will offer an array of additional services.


The new 58-bed center would provide a free standing, eight-bed detox unit, 42 residential rehabilitation beds and eight observation beds. The center would provide medication-assisted suboxone treatment, an intensive outpatient program, after care and case management.

U.S. Sen. Angus King stopped by York County government offices Friday to hear about two new initiatives: a new recovery center and a first responder training center. And he took a moment to talk with York County Commissioners, from the left are Chair Richard Dutremble, Vice Chair Justin Chenette, King, and commissioners Richard Clark, Donna Ring and Robert Andrews. Tammy Wells photo

Jen Ouellete, York County’s clinical consultant, said she has worked with people with substance use issues for 30 years.

“There is nothing like this in Maine, where every level (of care) is under one roof,” she said.

King pointed out that if someone reaches out for help — and there is none available for several months, “that’s a death sentence for some.”

King suggested the county reach out to the Veterans Administration to discuss the availability of services at the recovery center that might work for some veterans.

As for the training center, Zinser pointed out, county officials have  reached out to Sanford Regional Technical Center and Biddeford Regional Center of Technology and has a working relationship with York County Community College.


The availability of training in York County is designed to help fire and rescue and law enforcement agencies  departments from Kittery to Old Orchard Beach, and inland communities fill critical vacancies and retain existing employees by providing both initial training and ongoing programs to keep those already serving up-to-date.

The county is currently going through the permitting process and hopes to soon break ground.

Zinser said without the support of King and others in the congressional delegation for rescue plan funds and congressionally directed spending, the projects would not be happening.

“The recovery center and the training center would not be possible without you,” Zinser said.

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