Chattanooga readies 'prevention center' for park curfew violator - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Chattanooga readies 'prevention center' for park curfew violators

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Story by Gordon Boyd
Eyewitness News Reporter

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)-- Driving distance is the biggest barrier keeping Ooltewah's Christine Orsburn from visiting Chattanooga's Coolidge Park more often.

But she might take her 1-year-old daughter Kaelin there in the evenings, now that an ordinance bans minors between 6PM and 6AM unless an adult accompanies them.

"Just having the supervision will help monitor their decisions they make while they're here," she says.

"Keep them in check."

"The thing that has been lacking is a place to take them," Mayor Ron Littlefield told City Council Tuesday night.

The rush is on to get that 'night care center' ready.

Contractors are installing three more security cameras in what had been a police precinct adjoining the South Chattanooga Recreation Center off of W.40th Street in St. Elmo.

"It's more prevention (than detention)," Police Chief Bobby Dodd says.

He's counting on it being ready by next Friday.

"We're gonna have computers, we're gonna have gaming systems, we're gonna have social workers if you will," he says.

Two City Council members have doubts about the ordinance itself.

"I believe what's good enough for Coolidge Park is good enough for everyone," Councilman Andrae McGary says.

 Chief Dodd expects the center to hold curfew violators caught throughout Chattanooga.

"We've got other areas we need to look at," Councilman Russ Gilbert says.

 "We need to look at other neighborhoods."

"It's in my opinion, unfortunately, that we have to wait for another shooting to take place in another part of town before we pass legislation," McGary says.

Mayor Littlefield insists more is coming.

Some citizens argue that the 'more' has to be, more to do.

"We should absolutely have a structured environment for them to go to before we close those doors," Heather Sivley told City Council Tuesday.

"Otherwise, we're just relocating the violence to the streets of our neighborhoods."

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