JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – A South Jackson church is seeking to breathe new life into a mall that has been abandoned for more than a decade.
The Apostolic Ministry of Restoration became the official owner of the once-thriving Appleridge Mall last Thursday.
It’s all part of the vision of church pastor Lanford Porter, who has worked for years to get rid of the horror.
“Our plans for this particular property are to put in 40 one-bedroom apartments and 40 two-bedroom apartments to address some of the housing issues, particularly with respect to our aging society,” Porter said.
Every day for nearly eleven years, Pastor Porter had to examine the dilapidated property across from his church, Apostolic Restoration Ministry. He said it often housed vagrants.
In fact, he once described the abandoned mall as the “mecca of crime.”
He said almost immediately after the building was demolished last summer, crime in the area went down with it.
“You have this wide open space, and there’s nowhere to hide,” he said.
In the short term, Porter plans to use and has already used the property for additional parking. This allows his church to hold various events like the back-to-school campaign that took place a few weeks ago.
He will also use the 14-acre lot to bring his congregation outside to worship.
“We’re going to have an outdoor stadium setup for outdoor services because COVID-19 and, now, monkeypox has kicked in. We’re going to have services where people can just get in their cars,” Porter said.
He said the motivation behind all of these plans is to restore an area of South Jackson that has fallen on hard times.
“Whenever people invest in their community, they tend to support it. Not only that, but they also tend to help take care of it,” he said.
The pastor said his team is helping to secure funding for the project and he hopes to have the seniors’ facility built within the next sixteen to seventeen months.
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