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Jail Plan Wins Contest, Worries Residents

Plans to make-over an old Haywood County prison got a huge financial boost Friday. But not everyone is happy with the project. Plans call for turning the old Hazelwood Prison into a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, and half-way house.

Friday, it was announced the project won $50,000 dollars in an online contest sponsored by Ty Pennington.

Some nearby residents, like Judy Wood, support the plan. "I think it will help the neighborhood and keep crime down."

But some residents and businesses worry about their safety and property values. Wanda Brooks runs Alley Kats Tavern across from the property. She's not against the concept, just its location next to a residential community. She says there are people afraid of possible crimes like theft, trespassing, and loitering.

"Greg Christopher, our Sheriff has assured the community he's going to be on top of that. We have the power as the hand that feeds people to say if you don't respect the community, you don't have a place at our table," says The Open Door's Executive Director Perry Hines.

Brooks is also worried about the impact on businesses, including hers. "If they're hanging out in front of businesses people probably aren't going to want to come. If it affects property values what can you do about that?  It's done."

She says many residents would at least like to see the entrance to the center moved. "We were hoping that at least they'd move it over by the sheriff.  That way, people would have to enter...come and go that way and wouldn't be loitering and hanging around the neighborhood."

Organizers of the Haywood Pathways Center hope to see it open November 1st.

By: Rex Hodge
Follow Rex on Twitter @RexHodgeWLOS

 



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