MADISON, Ala. (WAFF) - The city of Madison is moving to change a building with a troubled past.
It was once a home for boys with behavioral and mental health issues. Now, it will get new life as a community center.
The Three Springs Facility on Browns Ferry Road used to house boys ages 12-18. Before it shutdown in August of 2019, multiple teens escaped from the center.
Madison police say one of the escapes led to the death of a worker at Publix.
The Madison City Council voted for the facility to close, but several months ago the city officially purchased it.
Jose Hernandez lives just about a mile away from the former youth home. He’s lived there for more than 20 years.
“Every now and then we’d hear, you know somebody would come on the news saying that somebody had escaped from there or gotten out, but we’ve never had issues in this neighborhood,” Hernandez said.
He tells us the plans to make it a community center is a very positive change.
“It’s a great thing, we definitely need more places for our kids to hang out.”
Samantha Magnuson, the city’s communication specialist, says the center will offer activities for all ages. The parks and recreation division will run it.
City leaders are asking you to answer a survey to help determine what will be available at the facility.
“We want to make sure that people are going to use it and make sure the programs we have in place there are worthwhile to them,” Magnuson said.
Hernandez says he hopes it can be a place his whole family can enjoy
“Volleyball, definitely volleyball because kids love that. Get togethers, barbecues, grill outs. If it turns out real good, I’ll have my wife go and all the grown kids. It would be pretty neat to see,” Hernandez said.
Anyone who lives in Madison can respond, city council will review all the responses and move forward.