Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

Alvarado

November 21, 2008

Housing project provides assistance for needy

Product of vocation and faith

ALVARADO — Peach Orchard Park, a local housing project designed to provide assistance to people in need, is a product of Paula Rayburn’s vocation and faith — and her love of peaches.

Where she lives, 211 N. Friou near downtown, is where she grew up.

“I was one of eight children,” she said. “When I was 5, my family brought the farm house here from out where the sanitary landfill is now. We built this house in 1963.

“In 2002, this house became available, and my brother Michael suggested I buy it, so I did. Six or seven years ago, I was sitting here and looking out the back window, remembering the peach orchard and vegetable garden Mr. Park had when I was young.

“There were 14 peach trees. I loved peaches. I came from a pear orchard and didn’t like pears. Sitting here, I thought, ‘Those trees are like peoples’ lives. They need to be nurtured. They need to be fixed.’

“I’ve been a faith-based counselor for 28 years. I’m licensed by the state. I worked for Texas Workforce in Cleburne for 23 years. I was accustomed to taking the lives of people who were on food stamps and welfare and seeing them transform, sometimes just through child care, transportation and going to school.”

The name Peach Orchard Park came to be because it was originally Park’s peach orchard. The housing plan didn’t start to become a reality until recent years.

“This land [about two acres] became available through the city of Alvarado,” Rayburn said. “We purchased the property and removed a 10,000 square foot building that had been condemned.”

Peach Orchard Park will take up much of the city block. All that remains to be done is the construction of the five small homes and a three-bay garage. Official groundbreaking will be from 2-3 p.m. Sunday. City dignitaries are expected.

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