In June 2006, Statesville was the recipient of a federal Weed and Seed grant program from the U.S. Department of Justice. The five-year grant was used in South Statesville to transform the community by stopping crime, improving housing, and building relationships among neighbors, government and police.
Statesville City Council member Keith Williams remembers how the Weed and Seed program made a real difference in South Statesville. He has proposed the creation of a similar program for this area which is part of the City’s proposed $37.2 million budget.
The development of this program is in “direct response to what this community has said it wants,” explained Williams. “With the creation of a Community Coordinator to serve as a liaison between the South Statesville community and law enforcement, the residents will have someone working for them. Someone they can turn to and bring their concerns. Someone they can trust who will listen to them and advocate for their needs.”
Williams took his idea to Statesville Police Chief Joe Barone, who embraced it whole heartedly. “I see this person and program as a trust builder … a bridge maker.” As was the idea behind the Weed and Seed program, this new initiative will require the “SPD to continue weeding out the criminal element and then work with the coordinator to help in seeding, bringing the positive resources to the community,” added Barone.
With the police on board, Williams met with Mayor Costi Kutteh and other staff to further develop the program. The proposed budget includes a request for $107,171 to fund the Community Coordinator position and establish an office for the program in South Statesville. The position is included in the Police Department budget. In addition, there is a proposal to create a Code Enforcement Inspector position who will work with the Community Coordinator and focus on South Statesville. This position is budgeted at $60,981.
“I am optimistic that this program will be an answer the community’s pleas for help,” said Williams. “We want them to know we heard them.”
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