Neighbors don't want 2nd halfway house to come to Augusta

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News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, July 1, 2013

Commission seal

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- An empty store at 802 7th St. could become home to about 50 ex-cons.

Stella Nunnally, president of the Laney Walker Neighborhood Association, says she and her other neighbors don't want a second halfway house in their area. They say they're already having problems with ex-cons in the first one, which is a state-run facility.

"I'm willing to go as far as I need to go. If it takes getting petitions, I'm willing to do that," Nunnally said.

"There's a certain time that they come back. They would put their drugs and cellphones underneath that house," said business owner Jack Stewart.

The owners of Western Alternative Corrections Inc. showed Nunnally their plans.

"It's kind of like a pre-release accountability system. The residents that are coming back into the community will be processed through," said Michelle Hultine, owner of the company.

News 12 asked Nunnally if the company could say anything to change her mind about bringing another halfway house to her area.

"My mind is made up, and the community's mind is made up," Nunnally replied.

The Planning and Zoning Committee, and ultimately Augusta commissioners, will have to be convinced as well. They have to vote on whether to allow the zoning to change, which would then make Laney Walker home to even more ex-cons. There will be at least two more public hearings on the proposed site before a vote is taken.

City officials say other companies are interested in other parts of town for the federal halfway house.

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