PLANT CITY — The iconic but abandoned Red Rose Inn & Suites may get a new lease on life: as a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center.
The city's Planning and Zoning Board on Thursday approved rezoning the property at 2011 N Wheeler St. The secured rehabilitation center would operate in the eastern half while the western side would be used as offices and suites where family could visit for up to seven days. The rezoning will be heard by the City Commission at its Nov. 9 meeting.
There were two hours of questions and comments before the board's vote to recommend the rezoning. Barbara Swain was one of those who came to support the proposal, along with tear-filled residents with alcoholic family members, drug-using friends and relatives who died from their addictions.
"I was in so many rehabs, from the east coast to the west coast. From Dade County to Duval County," Swain, 53, said.
"We need this, we need this. We don't even have a facility here in Plant City."
The 7.8-acre Red Rose Inn property has been vacant since abruptly shutting down in 2012. But not everyone was convinced that the 150-bed facility, proposed by Florida Rehabilitation & Recovery Services, has found the right home.
Other residents worried about property values, traffic and whether it fits in with the surrounding neighborhoods, which include Wilson Elementary School and Linda's Little People Child Care Center.