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Looking to expand

Sunrise Centre applies for USDA grant

February 14, 2010
Sean Harkins

Alpena's Sunrise Centre is looking to expand to better treat women suffering addiction disorders.

The facility is seeking a grant or loan from the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Development Community Facilities program to build a 4,900 square-feet facility for women next to its existing building on Walnut Street.

The Sunrise Centre opened in 1991 as a long-term substance abuse residential treatment program for men. In 2006, after surveys showed a need for a treatment facility for women in the area, the facility opened its doors to women.

Article Photos

News Photo by Sean Harkins
The Sunrise Centre on Walnut Street in Alpena has applied for a USDA grant to expand its facility to include an area dedicated to treating women.

Having both sexes in the facility hasn't been ideal, Sunrise Centre Executive Director Bret Finzel said.

Relationships can develop between participants and women are reluctant to talk about topics like trauma, violence and gender identity in a mixed-gender setting.

"We currently serve women, but we feel that they should have a separate facility," Finzel said.

The cost of the addition is estimated to be around $500,000. Finzel said the project had been on the radar for a few years, but the decision to pursue it was made this summer. He said the USDA has received stimulus money and there is hope it will be passed down to this project.

If the project doesn't receive the USDA grant, he said a loan would be accepted and other sources of funding would be pursued.

"We're not necessarily grant dependent," Finzel said. "We'll get it built one way or another."

The Sunrise Centre owns the property behind the facility that the Thunder Bay Soccer Association uses for soccer fields. Finzel said the addition shouldn't impact the availability of the fields.

He informed the Alpena Planning Commission on Tuesday of the plans to expand. A site plan would have to be approved by the commission before construction on the addition could begin.

Aside from long-term substance abuse treatment, the Sunrise Centre offers, short-term residential treatment, outpatient treatment, sub-acute detoxification, and medication assisted treatment. It also has cognitive behavioral treatment and facilitates support group meetings.

Last year, Sunrise Centre served 523 individuals and families.

Sean Harkins can be reached via e-mail at or by phone at 358-5688.



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