(RepublicanDaily.org) – Cotton Mill Village, an abandoned community in southern Alabama, might have a new lease on life following the announcement of plans to make it into a community that will house homeless veterans.
The 22-acre village, located in Prichard, Alabama, used to be a vibrant community, but was abandoned after the collapse of the shipbuilding and paper mill industries in the area.
Rodney Clements, who is the vice president of Veterans Corps, is leading the initiative. He said that his organization, Prosperity Community Development Council, plans to utilize the existing 60 homes as well as the 80 lots in the village to take homeless veterans out of shelters and into single-family dwellings, which Clements said would make these veterans’ lives “a little bit easier to live.”
Also included in the plans are initiatives to revitalize the community, such as adding parks and other recreational facilities. Clements said that the addition of these features would make for a more “fulfilling community.”
Clements’ organization has partnered with contractors as well as a number of non-profit organizations to make the project – which is expected to cost at least $17 million – a reality. The initiative has already finished renovation on one of the homes – a process that only took a month. The contractors plan to restore as many of the abandoned houses to their original states as possible.
Another partner in the revitalization effort is Solomon’s Temple Ministries, which purchased an old school building in the area. It plans to restore the school, which will in part be used for its original purpose, but the church plans to use the cafeteria to serve hot meals for members of the community.
However, the project is not without its challenges – one of which is that Cotton Mill is often used as an illegal dumping site. Only a day after the groundbreaking ceremony, someone had already illegally dumped items in the site. There are plans to install cameras around the property as well as to prohibit the general public from accessing the area by temporarily closing the roads the lead to the property.
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