MADISONVILLE, Tenn. — A facelift is underway for an old motel with a notorious reputation in Madisonville.
The Holiday Motor Lodge closed in 2016. At that point in time, police said they were responding a couple of times a week to the location.
"This used to be a very bad place for the community, it was a very dark place, there was a lot of prostitution and drug addiction going on here," said Jeremy Graham, the president of True Purpose Ministries.
Around 3 years before the motel closed its doors, police responded to the site nearly 300 times. The calls ranged from fights to robberies and drug trafficking to overdoses.
True Purpose Ministries got involved with the project after Monroe County native, Sharon Davis fought to shut the motel down in 2016. Now, True Purpose plans to turn the place into a sober living center for couples struggling with drug abuse disorders.
"We love to take what 'the enemy' has meant for bad and we want to be able to turn it around for good," Graham said.
They gutted the entire motel and installed new floors, walls, doors, toilets, showers and sinks. Each room will come with two beds, a mini-fridge, and a small single-stove top.
"We want them to be able to come here and get better together, as well as promote that successful family unit as a whole," Graham said.
They were able to get a grant from Tennessee to do the work.
"The state of Tennessee has decided to partner with us to provide housing to people who have struggled with drugs and alcohol, specifically opiate use disorder," Graham said. "So, we're really excited to see the life changes that are going to be happening here on this campus."
The sober living center will be nearing completion by the end of July, they said. They will start housing couples at the beginning of August. Graham said he can't wait to watch miracles happen through this ministry.
"We're seeing families coming to us all the time and saying, 'Wow, I mean, I can't believe that I have my son and my daughter back.' They are a totally different person," he said. "And that's what I love seeing that's why I do it."