Old Pelham prison will be reborn - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Old Pelham prison will be reborn

Alfred Brown Alfred Brown
Jim Hedges Jim Hedges
Captain  Donnie L. Cochran Captain Donnie L. Cochran

What Pelham city officials call an eyesore now, will soon become a center they believe the community will enjoy, when the city renovates their old detention center.

The gates have been locked since the Pelham city council voted in June to close the Mize Street Detention center.

"Well, it is a diamond in the rough.  You take the fence down and you have this facility that the community can then use," said Pelham City Manager Jim Hedges.

That's the plan, renovating this old jail and transforming it into a center for folks in town.

"There's not much that needs to be done inside.  Just remove one wall," said Hedges.

City officials say there are endless possibilities to this space, including a baseball diamond with bleachers, six classrooms for day care or GED classes, a large gathering room, and a large kitchen.

"It will be an asset to this community and something that everyone will be proud of when we finish with it," said Hedges.

And what better way to dedicate this new center to a special man in this community. They'll name the building after Captain Donnie L. Cochran, a Pelham native who was the first African American Commander of the Blue Angels.

"He wanted to make sure that if he put his name on it, it would be something he could be proud of.  And that's what we plan to do," said Mayor Pro Tem Alfred Brown.

City Manager Hedges says they have sufficient funds available for the project.  He says they hope to have the renovation complete by the first quarter of next year. Hedges says the main part of the old jail will be reserved for use as a tornado, hurricane, and cold weather shelter.

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