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Ground broken on second phase of Washington Apartments

LAUREN WOOD / THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Community members including Mayor Butch Brown, Brenda Searcy, Bishop Stanley Searcy, B&K Bank President Page Ogden and County Supervisor Calvin Butler shovel dirt Thursday afternoon at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Washington Apartments expansion.

By JULIA NAGY

The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ — For Bishop Stanley Searcy, the second phase of the Washington Apartments is groundbreaking in more ways than one.

It is an opportunity to provide housing for the community and get a connection with them in return, he said.

“We wanted the church to be more than just a church on the corner,” Searcy said. “The church needs to play a major role in the community and the church has to partner with the community.”

Community members came out to break ground Thursday afternoon at the second phase of the complex, near New Hope Missionary Baptist Church.

Mayor Butch Brown also announced a partnership with Searcy to develop affordable housing within the city at the former Brumfield School.

Page Ogden, left, and Bishop Stanley Searcy talk as construction workers work on the site of the expansion Thursday afternoon after the groundbreaking ceremony on Morgantown Road.

Brown said he hopes to transfer the ownership of the complex to Searcy within the week.

Searcy said the church is looking into local banks to help fund the project, with B&K being the likely choice.

Searcy said he wants to do what he’s doing with the Washington Apartments at the former Brumfield School site.

“We plan on bringing the same spirit of excellence,” Searcy said.

The Washington Apartments, which will provide affordable housing, are slated for completion in August.

“This is all about giving a quality of life to someone who might not otherwise have it,” Brown said. “To have this kind of program is a model for America.”

The church will construct 30 units total at the Washington Apartments site. They received $1.8 million in funding from the Mississippi Development Authority, with B&K Bank provided $100,000 in funding.

The apartments, with handicap accessible units, will be built by a majority of local workers.

Searcy said it was important to employ people around the area who were out of work.

“That means some babies will get toys under the Christmas tree and food will be put on the table,” Searcy said.

Thursday’s groundbreaking started at the church, with comments from Brown and individuals involved in the project.

The group then moved next door to the site of the new apartments, breaking new ground.

B&K President Page Ogden said it’s been a pleasure working with Searcy.

“Nothing warms our hearts like ground being broken,” Ogden said. “It’s about the right thing to do. In our small way, we’re glad to be a part of it.”