Program cleaning up city

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 26, 2006

If you’ve noticed some older buildings, vacate lots or debris being cleaned up around the city, thank the TRUSTBuild program.

The program, which was started a few months ago with approved funding from the Selma City Council, was set up to deter crime and build pride in the city.

Mayor James Perkins Jr. reported at Monday night’s council meeting that Phase I of the program is at about 55 percent completion.

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With a goal to provide a safe and secure community to all its citizens, the TRUSTBuild program started with a sweep of neighborhoods to identify problem areas.

This sweep involved a city police officer and a city hall employee checking out all the neighborhoods for violations of city codes. Violations ranged from litter to dilapidated houses to abandoned vehicles.

Bridget Mills, who helped coordinate the effort, said teams identified 2,347 violations after patrolling all the city streets.

Once the violations were identified, city workers were sent in to correct problems or notify homeowners and residents of violations.

TRUSTBuild – an acronym for Teaming to Restore Unity, Safety and Trust – has as its goal to establish and implement a trustworthy, comprehensive and measurable way to reduce blight, build community pride and provide a safe and secure community to all citizens.

Studies have shown that removing blight helps reduce crime.

Phase II of the TRUSTBuild program will include a Community Outreach, involving police officers, city representatives and members of the community who will get out in the neighborhoods and talk to local residents.

So, if you see workers clearing a vacant lot in your neighborhood, or if you come across an outreach team, now you know why they’re there.

The city has done a good job of implementing the first phase of TRUSTBuild. Let’s continue the effort.