DOVER, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Sunset Motor Inn was run by the same family for decades. It closed in the fall after two of its owners died, but it’s about to get a new lease on life thanks to one nonprofit.
Melissa Fields has been eyeing the 1960s motel overlooking the water for years.
“It’s a perfect place. It’s out of the way. There are no neighbors,” said Fields.
Fields runs the Stewart County Prevention Coalition. For a long time, she’s dreamed of providing housing to women dealing with substance misuse.
“It’s going to be their home, and it’s going to be permanent as long as they want to stay there.”
However, there was one obstacle – the motel was not for sale, until, that is, a few months ago when the couple who ran it for two decades passed away just months apart. Fields approached their son about possibly buying it.
“When I reached out and spoke to him what it was about and how it was going to help people, then he was on board from the very beginning,” she said.
She will soon transform it into the Lakeview Women’s Mission, a place where 15 formerly incarcerated women can call home. They will be expected to pay rent or volunteer, but will also be offered therapy, learn life skills, and be allowed to have their children live with them as well.
“It’s going to be their home and I don’t want them to not be able to have their children, no matter what age they are,” Fields said.
She added the facility will be a first for incarcerated women in the area, and she hopes it’s not the last.
“We want it to be a special place for them.”
Fields received a $1 million state grant to purchase and renovate the old motel, and $154,000 in recurring money to operate it. She plans to open in the fall and already has women interested in making it their home.