West Point City Council will decide on whether to allow the city’s housing authority to put gates up at some street entrances in the projects.
The gates are proposed for the following intersections:
Martin Luther King Junior Drive and East 11th Street,
Martin Luther King Junior Drive and Grant Court,
the intersection of East 12th Street and Avenue L,
Avenue K between East 12th Street and East 13th Street, and
the Intersection of East 12th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.
The housing authority is paying for the gates and their installation, but needs permission from the city to put the gates up on city streets.
Authority Director Len Williams said the gates and other security measures were proposed after it was determined much of the crime in the housing authority is brought in by visitors who don’t live there.
“We met with residents and generally, the reaction was positive,” he said. “We’re not trying to fence them in.”
Approval by the city could be delayed, however, while the authority board decides whether to also implement speed bumps inside the development. The speed bumps also were requested by residents and could be part of a phased-in approach to security measures there.
Security cameras also were proposed, but at least one council member balked at adding cameras on top of gates.
“I think the community is being targeted,” said Councilwoman Sandra Thornton. “None of this (security measures) came up when we did the study for the redevelopment plan.”
The authority now needs to decide which order to try the proposed security in – gates, speed bumps and cameras.
Williams said he believes if any or all of the changes are made, they would be well received.
“If we didn’t believe that, we wouldn’t propose it,” he said. “We don’t inflict things on our residents.”
A vote on whether to allow the gates will likely come up in October.
Council will vote Monday on a resolution outlining how a proposed Citizens Advisory Committee for the police department will work. The committee – who will be on it and how it will operate – has been debated since it was included in a resolution passed earlier this year allowing officers to carry Tasers.
The group will be made up of seven members appointed by mayor and city council and a representative from the police department is required to attend. Council has yet to appoint anyone to the group.
A vote also will be taken Monday on de-annexing 5.78 acres at 164 Old Gabbettville Road. The property had been annexed in 2008, but owners are asking to be let out of the city limit because they say expected growth with Kia hasn’t happened as quickly as they’d hoped. Water and sewer provided by West Point have yet to reach the property.
“(The owners) feel the increase in property tax is not worth the services that are available,” Planning Director Sammy Osborne said in a memo to council.