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Flea market's future raising questions

A view of the former flea market that could be turned into a transition facility (Alex Derencz | abc3340.com)

A post is making its way across social media regarding the future use of a flea market on Highway 25 between Harpersville and Wilsonville. The post's author claimed the site will be turned into a halfway house for sex offenders, and he urged his community to "show up and help stop" the plans at a meeting that has since been rescheduled.

The flea market, which has a Harpersville address but is in an unincorporated part of the county, was purchased and will no longer operate as a flea market. The intended use of the property is a transition facility, according to information provided to the Harpersville mayor. Mayor Don Greene tells ABC 33/40 that the city has not had direct correspondence with those behind the project.

The Church of the Highlands ministers to Bibb County Correctional Facility inmates, some of whom may have a role at the new transition facility, according to the mayor's sources. As part of the church's ministry program, inmates will build "tiny houses" for use at the former flea market site. After inmates complete the program and are released from prison, they can qualify to live at the facility's tiny houses for a certain period of time. In their time at the facility, former inmates can receive training in a specialized trade. We are told that some of the residents would be sex offenders, and the address of the facility is compliant for registered sex offenders.

A meeting between the group behind the project and concerned citizens was set to be held at the flea market on September 26, but has since been rescheduled. However, a different meeting is set for Thursday afternoon between city officials and those tied to the project to lay out all the facts regarding the project.

ABC 33/40 will keep you updated on this story as more information becomes available.

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