Proposal for new halfway house building withdrawn after resident - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Proposal for new halfway house building withdrawn after residents speak out

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

Elfriede Harrleson has lived in theCrystal Valley area of Columbus off Macon Road for the past 10 years.

On Thursday night, she and severalother outraged members had a common goal: stop the building of a halfway homeministry for men at Crystal Valley Baptist Church. 

"I'm very concerned about thechildren, more than my home, because in the summertime the children are allaround," Harrleson said. 

Harrleson and about 50 others stoodin opposition of this male transitional center that was aimed at helpingprisoners get back on their feet. Within about 15 minutes of heated debate, NeilRichardson, the local minister spearheading the project, withdrew his proposalfor the center.

"If our neighbors do not wantus to do this and to the point where there is emotions that are arising, and weare going to do what God would have us do… and that's withdraw the proposal andleave in a loving way," Richardson said. 

Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson andseveral council members came out to the meeting to hear concerns on bothspectrums of the issue. Overall, many say that this halfway home or transitioncenter would be a big problem for the community.

"Why do we need inmates in ourneighborhood or close to our neighborhood they need to build this house inpasture somewhere?" asked a resident.

Crystal Valley Baptist Church isless than a mile from Waddell Elementary School and just across the street froma daycare.

Richardson says their goal was tobetter these men by ministering. Though this fight may be over, he isn't givingup.

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