Boys no longer at Fortress Group Home

Teenage boys have been moved out of the Fortress Group Home in Columbiana.

Fortress owner Melba Nichols confirmed teens are no longer residing at the house on Mildred Street, but wouldn’t comment further.

“There’s no story here now,” Nichols said.

Former Fortress social worker Ali Payne said the home closed Tuesday, May 26, and the boys were moved elsewhere. Most of the boys were placed in other group homes while one went into foster care, Payne said.

The Columbiana City Council voted back in February not to give a business license to Fortress.

The council shut the home down due to its history of problems, including boys getting into trouble at school and with Columbiana police.

Mayor Allan Lowe said the city worked with Fortress to make sure the boys could finish the school year.

“We didn’t want the drop the hammer,” Lowe said. “The city has worked with Fortress to make the transition as easy as possible for the young men. We will continue to help as much as we legally can.”