Community asked for input in prison makeover

The trio of Christian ministries and advocates for the disadvantaged looking to transform the old state prison in Hazelwood into a place of renewal will look to the community to guide its next steps. 

“We hope to look at the total community and seek to identify gaps in services to meet basic human needs,” said Patsy Dowling, executive director of Mountain Projects, which is a nonprofit that carries out a host of social service programs. 

The groups will meet with interested community members at 4 p.m. March 18 at the Haywood County Senior Resources Center on Elmwood Way in Waynesville. The interactive meeting will cover many aspects of the project, including fundraising. 

The vision is for the old prison on Brown Avenue to become a transitional home for recently released inmates, a temporary shelter for homeless people and a second location for Open Door Ministries to serve hot meals to those who need them. Organizers are currently working with Haywood County commissioners, who support the idea, to come up with a lease and a Memorandum of Understanding.

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