Entrepreneur Renee Walters and real estate professional Ashley Scott have teamed up to build an entire town that they say will be dedicated to developing an “authentic Black community and culture that’s both safe for its residents and “feels prosperous”.
The pair launched a recruitment drive to find 17 other Black families and investors, in order to buy up 97 acres of land in rural Wilkinson County, Georgia, on which they plan to build their “Freedom Georgia” project.
Scott and Walters told USA Today that the project is not exclusively for Black families though.
“Pro-Black does not mean anti-white,” Walters said. “We don't want people to think that this is segregation… We just want to build a haven where we feel safe.”
Scott said she was hoping to participate in the national movement against police brutality and systemic racism in the U.S. in a way that would have a real impact. However, she didn’t want to join the protest in order to avoid exposing herself to COVID-19.
“The foundation of our structure is where the problem is,” Scott told USA Today. “Finding a town, it felt like, ‘OK, this is how you change the foundation of the structure.’”
The pair said they have ambitious plans for their 97-acre parcel of land. They intend to construct various homes, a farm, horse stables, and even a lake with tiny house cabins scattered along the shore, all by next spring. They also hope the town will serve as a tourist attraction, and will build a farm-to-table restaurant, an Airbnb experience, an amphitheater and a conference center.
In addition they have plans to eventually buy even more land and expand the city’s boundaries. Ultimately, they want to provide their own municipal services, such as law enforcement, schools, hospitals and a fire department.
They believe it could take between three and five years to write a charter and petition to get their city, which will be named Freedom, Georgia, officially recognized as a municipality.
Scott told USA Today she hopes her initiative an inspire other Black families to purchase land and build smaller communities in similar projects across the U.S.