Former St. Cloud Church Now Serves as Drug Rehab Center

An abandoned church in downtown St. Cloud will now save souls from the clutches of addiction after developers got full city council approval Monday night to convert the former First United Methodist Church into a 48-bed inpatient drug and alcohol rehab facility.

The facility at 302 5th Avenue South has been vacant since 2013 and will also provide outpatient care.

Four residents who spoke expressed their support for the treatment center. Nobody spoke out against it.

Ascension Recovery Services will manage the center. CEO Doug Leach spoke with KNSI News immediately following the vote and expressed gratitude for everyone’s support. “I believe it is a really favorable indication for what is to come. The community support will allow us to be effective in helping our patients achieve true healing. That’s the only way we’ll succeed. So I’m quite thrilled.”

Leach collaborates with state health officials to identify areas where they can do the most good. “This is an area where everyone agrees there is a significant need. And that’s where we want to concentrate. We avoid areas with a large number of robust treatment choices. And we want to go to locations where there are gaps in care. We seek to fill the holes.”

The drug treatment center’s staffing would range from roughly 12 overnight to 30 during the day. Family and visitor visits would also be permitted. The first patients should be admitted in spring 2025.

The idea originated with the developers of a different redevelopment project. It is the final piece of a $120 million project.

Brian Schoenborn told the planning panel last month that he never imagined he’d be proposing a drug treatment clinic. According to Schoenborn, the facility was inspired by the loss of Mack Motzko, who was killed in a July 2021 crash by an impaired motorist. Schoenborn was Motzko’s godfather.

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