Residents question second transitional center proposed for neighborhood

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - There's already one halfway house in the Laney Walker neighborhood of Augusta, now a second one has been proposed for the area. It's prompting some residents to ask, what's in it for us?

"What affect will it have or what help will it have in our neighborhood? That's my concern," said Stella Nunnally, the president of the Laney Walker Neighborhood Association.

She's lived in the area for 66 years and before she buys into the proposal, she says she needs some peace of mind.

The transitional facility would house 40 people who have been convicted of federal crimes.

Dismas Charities, the company making the proposal, is a faith based non-profit organization and they're trying to get approval from the planning commission and people, such as Nunnally, who would live near it.

Dismas would like to spend $1 million to rework an abandoned warehouse on Taylor Street into a transitional facility.

They say the halfway house would bring about two dozen jobs to the area and bring a workforce to Augusta.

Steven Vice, the Vice President of Dismas Charities said, "In Louisville, Kentucky last year alone, we provided 500,000 hours of community service without charge to local government."

He says the needs of the area will determine what kind of the services they would provide. He says that will be determined in six months. But he says he's already picturing the help their residents would bring to downtown Augusta by keeping the streets clean.

While Nunnally thinks that's good for the city, she doesn't think it's great for her community, so she says she's not giving her approval yet.

"I think that they will have to go back and revamp to see what will help in this community," Nunnally, said.

The planning commission will hear the proposal again in six months.

The Laney Walker community will hold an open meeting at Dyess Park September 16 at 7 p.m. to discuss the halfway house.

Vice says if they receive the approval they need they may start renovating the building for the facility as early as this summer.