Neighbors to youth holding facility react - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Neighbors to youth holding facility react

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Story by Paul Shahen
Eyewitness News Reporter

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)-- Eyewitness News was first to report the mayor's plan to use the old St. Elmo precinct as a youth housing facility.

City leaders agree something needs to be done, but Channel 3 learned Tuesday not everyone wants a detention center in the neighborhood.

"If you were buying a house or I was selling it, I can't imagine a realtor would say, ‘ah, a plus sign: a detention center'," says Jeff Clumpner.

As a neighboring homeowner since 2004, Jeff Clumpner says the mayor's plan wouldn't be a selling point.

But with 20 shootings in three months, several involving teens, Clumpner says he also agrees with the detention center just a block away.

"As someone who appreciates trying to prevent gang violence, I appreciate more than a slap on the wrist," says Clumpner.

Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield wants to see the new ordinance go into effect as early as this weekend.

If it does, minors under 16 who break curfew will be taken there until their parents or guardians pick them up.

Another neighbor to the detention center says he's okay with the proximity to his home.

"It would be better to detain them there, than take them to the county jail; I think it would be a good idea," says John Jones.

Clumpner said he would rather see the old police precinct reopen. He says since it closed the character of the neighborhood has changed, and burglaries are on the rise.

He's hoping maybe the detention center would help change that.

"If the police presence is up, it may help that," says Clumpner. "I'm just glad the city is using the property instead of leaving it vacant, which can't be cost effective."

Again the mayor hopes this ordinance can be in action by this weekend...

It would run through the summer and when school starts - they'd like to use it for truancy.

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