Congressman Meadows tours future Haywood Pathways Center
Efforts to convert the long-closed state jail in Hazelwood into transitional housing and a soup kitchen is one that has traveled all the way to Washington, D.C.
That's where Congressman Mark Meadows said he first heard about the project and decided he wanted to come see it for himself.
"Bad news travels quickly, but good news travels much slower. As it kept growing and growing I said, 'I've got to go and visit this place,'" he said during a tour of the old prison led by Haywood County Sheriff Greg Christopher on Friday.
Meadows voiced his enthusiasm for the project as he toured the empty buildings that once housed prisoners. It is now envisioned as a place for future growth and restoration for people in need, the sheriff explained.
The goal of the project is to improve the recidivism rate at the jail and to help those who are afflicted with addiction or poverty to overcome those problems. It will bring the county homeless shelter and The Open Door soup kitchen to one convenient location.
"The exciting thing for me is that the whole community has come together over this," Meadows said. "It just is encouraging. It really comes down to having the heart for people, and I applaud all of you all for your vision for this in your community."
As the tour entered the kitchen area, Meadows was introduced to a group from the Open Door, which was holding an onsite meeting where they will be opening a second soup kitchen.
Not only will it help the community, he pointed out that the project would ultimately save local and federal dollars in the long run.
Meadows was also impressed to hear the project is getting a boost by winning the Guaranteed Rate / Ty Pennington contest and $50,000 toward the renovations.
He said it's refreshing to see headlines about a "community that cares."