A faith-based group in Nashville that aims to reduce recidivism officially opened a new campus in Antioch Tuesday, nearly a decade after first proposing the complex in another part of Davidson County.
The Men of Valor prison ministry unveiled Valor Ridge on a remote bluff overlooking Antioch Pike. The first phase consists of four group homes, but the organization hopes it'll expand to include more housing, as well as facilities capable of offering services to hundreds of former prisoners living elsewhere.
The organization receives funding from CoreCivic, the Nashville-based private prison operator, as well as several other local companies. Its supporters also include Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall, who took part in Valor Ridge's opening ceremony.
He says recently released inmates have few options, so projects like Valor Ridge are essential to keeping them from immediately going back to jail.
"They need an opportunity to live in our community and be productive citizens in our community," he said. "You can't do that without a place to live and a support system called Men of Valor."
Despite such endorsements, Men of Valor has faced plenty of opposition. The organization initially selected a site along Couchville Pike in Old Hickory and presented plans for a similar project as long ago as 2008. After locals objected, they scaled it down, building only a seven-person group home.
The organization shifted to a second location, the site of a failed housing development. Some neighbors objected there as well, but the organization succeeded in winning approval.
Valor Ridge will initially be able to house up to 60 men, with plans in the works for a second phase that'll add units for 30 more. The organization also hopes to move its offices and programming to the campus.