No welcome mat on Main Street for methadone clinic

Westminster business concerns new neighbors

WESTMINSTER, Md. - The sign says walk ins are welcomed at the hair salon on East Main Street in Westminster, but patrons of the new business across the street may be the exception.

"Time will tell if it's a problem or not and how our customers feel---that concerns me, and I was hoping that they wouldn't find out what it was," said hair stylist Kathy Yeagley.

It's a methadone clinic---a place where heroin addicts can go to get a synthetic narcotic to help them kick the habit.

It's moved into the old High's store, but it doles out a different kind of high that has put businesses and their customers here on edge.

"We have one guy in New Windsor.  I don't think he wants help.  He's so out of this world.  It's pathetic," said Doris Strawsburg as she got her hair styled.

The clinic moved here from its location on Baltimore Boulevard when another business expanded into its space and its lease ran out.

A former neighbor, Brian Yaeger of Kitchens by QBI, says he was glad to see it go.

"They closed at 10.  There was a rush at 9:55," said Yaeger, "People getting out of their cars in pajamas.  There's been other issues where they've been in their cars nodding off for a couple of minutes and then they get in their car and drive away."

Already, workers at the hair salon across the street are seeing the impact of the clinic.

"You can tell in the morning when there's nine million cars and the Cats bus and all that pulling up and dropping off," said Tracy Coon, an employee at the hair salon.

Their customers are now having second thoughts about their own safety.

"We've had one lady tell one of our stylists that she wouldn't be coming," said Yeagley, "If they're serious about wanting help, they can get it.  Do they want it?"
"As long as Kathy's happy, I'm happy that they don't come over here," said Strawsburg, "We don't need them.  We got plenty in New Windsor."

Reached by telephone, workers at the clinic refused to comment on the move or to discuss any security measures they may have in place that could ease their neighbors' fears.

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