Concerned resident addresses Wilsonville Council on proposed inmate facility

Published 10:44 pm Thursday, July 4, 2024

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Managing Editor

WILSONVILLE – Resident Leigh Hunt addressed the Wilsonville City Council with continued concerns over the proposed Breakaway Pointe facility and highlighted an upcoming zoning election on the subject during a regularly scheduled council meeting on Monday, July 1.

Breakaway Pointe is a planned transitional facility in unincorporated Shelby County at 33985 Highway 25, Harpersville, Alabama 35078 where the Dixieland Tradin’ Post was formerly located.

Hunt, who lives on property directly adjacent to the proposed facility, expressed concerns to the City Council over the type of inmates housed at the facility and shared information on upcoming legislation.

“I’m personally tired of secrets, I’m sick of wondering who Randy Walker is moving in next door to me and what sick crimes they have committed,” Hunt said. “And more importantly, when they’ll hurt one of my kids or my neighbors.”

Hunt and several other concerned citizens previously addressed the Wilsonville City Council on the subject of the facility during a meeting on April 1.

On April 29, residents delivered signed petitions to the Shelby County probate court asking for zoning protection to stop the inmate transition facility which was subsequently signed by Judge Allison Boyd. A special election will be held for the zoning on Tuesday, Aug. 27 for residents who live in unincorporated Shelby County within the Vincent Harpersville zoning beat.

“Everyone in our community thought this issue was finished after the 2018 uproar, but there have been almost 100 felons sent through there since,” Hunt said. “Zoning protection is the only way to stop these shenanigans.”

Randy Walker, owner of the property that is planned to be developed for Breakaway Pointe, was scheduled to make an appearance during the meeting, however, neither he nor a representative were present.

Mark Boardman of Holy Trinity Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Cathedral was also scheduled to speak and was not present. Boardman previously expressed concern over the development during a meeting on April 1.

According to previous information on LifeLink’s website which is no longer available, the proposed 27 acre facility would house approved CORE graduates who are released from prison and have earned the ability to enter LifeLink’s transitional process. LifeLink’s CORE—community, opportunity, reformation and education—is the part of a three phase program that aims to provide a process for incarcerated offenders that aims to address “failed lifestyles that sent people to prison” and to “establish corrective behavioral practices that will keep people out of criminal activities.” If developed, Breakaway Pointe in Shelby County was previously set to house CORE graduates under the supervision of the facility’s staff.

During a meeting on April 1, the Wilsonville City Council unanimously voted to share letters by Fire Chief Davy Edwards and Mayor Ricky Morris addressing safety concerns at the location which would fall under the jurisdiction of the Wilsonville Volunteer Fire Department.

During a meeting on March 4, the Harpersville City Council approved a resolution opposing the construction of the proposed Breakaway Pointe Transitional Program citing concerns that “the Town of Harpersville is not designed to and unable to support the construction and maintain the day-to-day demands of the proposed next step incarceration center.”

Another meeting regarding the zoning for the facility will take place on Monday, July 15 at the Pelham County Services Building.