GRAY, TN (WJHL) -The Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency, HSDA, approved the East Tennessee State University and Mountain States Health Alliance application for a methadone clinic in Gray.

The application was unanimously approved. The 11-member board heard from ETSU and Mountain States officials on why a certificate of need should be granted.

The board also heard from citizens and Washington County commissioners who are opposed to the application.

More than a dozen leaders and concerned citizens traveled from the Tri-Cities region to Nashville for a state hearing on a proposed methadone clinic in Gray.

Wednesday, the Health Services and Development Agency considered whether or not to approve the Certificate of Need application for the Mountain States Health Alliance and East Tennessee State University project.

The two entities need a CON before they can move forward with the project in Gray Commons Professional Park.

“I said that we would stand shoulder by shoulder, step by step,” said Washington County Commissioner Bryan Davenport, who is traveling to Nashville to attend the meeting. He plans on speaking out against the application.

“What I’m going to talk about is the concerns the Gray, Sulphur Springs residents have brought forward from anywhere from traffic problems, the safety issues to property values,” Davenport said.

Washington County Commissioner Mark Larkey also spoke at the HSDA meeting, along with about four other concerned citizens, including Danny Sells, who is part of “Citizens to Maintain Gray”.

Several officials with Mountain States Health Alliance spoke at the meeting, but in support of the application.

A Mountain States spokesperson said Lindy White, CEO of Woodridge Hospital & Franklin Woods Community Hospital, and Dr. Randy Jessee, senior vice president of Specialty Services at Frontier Health, were also scheduled to speak at the hearing.

Mountain States’ Vice-President of Strategic Planning Allison Rogers and President of Corridor Properties Hank Carr were on-hand to answer questions.

In a joint statement, ETSU and Mountain States said:

“We look forward to meeting with the Tennessee Health Services Development Agency on Wednesday to present our plan for providing a recovery-based addiction treatment facility for the residents of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. The facility is an important component of a much larger plan to reduce the burden of addiction plaguing our region. We are focused not just on providing a service to help people achieve recovery, but on investing proceeds from the clinic in resources designed to prevent relapse, provide evidence-based training to medical professionals who prescribe opioids, and create outreach and education services designed to stop addiction before it starts. We believe the need for such a program in our region is clear, and we are hopeful the HSDA will return a favorable ruling, allowing us to move on to the next phases of the approval process for this critical community resource.”

Now that the HSDA approved the application, Johnson City Commission must still vote on a rezoning request for the proposed site’s location before the clinic can open in Gray Commons Professional Park.