Written by Sarah Stevens
Elmore / Utaoga News
Top photo: This building has served many purposes over the years. It is currently used for special response team training and warehousing. It will descend and will be replaced by a new welcome pantry to cater to the growing community.
Millbrook In February, the City of Millbrook announced a $500,000 grant from the Alabama Department of Economic and Social Affairs (ADECA) that will allow for a new welcome food pantry. WELCOME is an acronym for West Elmore Outreach Ministry Extension.
At a board meeting on Tuesday, the board approved a resolution authorizing Millbrook Mayor Al Kelley to perform a professional design services contract for the new WELCOME Center, to kick-start the ball.
Or, in this case, wrecking ball, which will begin demolishing the old Millbrook Police Department building on Grandview Boulevard. Once that is complete, construction will begin on the new WELCOME Food store, but it’s too early for a specific schedule.
Officials say there is a lot of history in the old building, which provided many services to the community such as the walls and roof. It was the home many years ago of Millbrook Baptist Church until they built the church now on Browns Road. The building also served as a medical clinic. Purchased by the city, it became the home of the Town Hall, Municipal Court, and Millbrook Police Department for many years.
City Hall was moved two more times, but the old building continued to house the court and police until 2013.
At the time, the police building was evacuated, as a new, larger facility to house police stations and courts was built across the road.
In the years following its eviction, the old police department was used for storage and training. It was not a good time for the building, which had major structural problems and previous flood damage even when it was operating at full capacity.
The council recently approved the site for a large storage building that will be placed on city property near the tennis courts that will be used for storage. Work will soon begin to clear the old building before demolition begins.
There was some talk of moving WELCOME to the old Police Department building, but it was decided after several inspections that the old building should go for health and safety reasons.
In the future, a new, larger Welcome Center will be established on the property, which will be able to better meet the needs of the growing community.
The scholarship project is estimated to cost over $800,000 and includes $300,000 to be provided by the City of Millbrook, WELCOME and other generous contributors. The city has donated the property to the project on Grandview Road next to Millbrook Senior Center. Once the new facility is built, WELCOME will move from its current location on Main Street.
“I appreciate the support of Governor Ivey, Kenneth Boswell of Adica, staff and our local legislative delegation as we navigate the application process. This is a huge boost to WELCOME’s ability to not only better respond to those in need in our region, but also an opportunity to promote and raise the bar for their wonderful mission and work. “We’re looking forward to getting started,” Mayor Kelly said in February when the grant was announced.
WELCOME President Phil Harris said, “We are very pleased with the grant award and that WELCOME will be able to continue serving those in need in Western Elmore County for many years to come. Over the years, Elmore County’s population has grown exponentially, so it is not surprising that the number of people is rising People in need too, especially during a pandemic. We have been blessed to be able to operate in our current facility for nearly three decades, but it is no longer sufficient for our needs. We deeply appreciate the way Millbrook has stepped in to help, not only its citizens, but throughout the entire county Elmore West”.
The project was funded using CDBG-CV Grant Program funds, administered by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, which focus on community needs related to the pandemic. The Central Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission (CARPDC) will administer the grant on behalf of the city.