Weed & Seed mission continues without federal funding
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)- The time is up for temporary federal funding on a program designed to fight crime in Chattanooga.
Washington ended its part of the 'Weed and Seed' program in September. Now the city is hoping to step in and help.
Since it lost federal funding, the program now goes by 'East Chattanooga Improvement Inc.'
A different name, yes, but the mission is the same.
"We're not slowing down, we're not stopping," says Dana Kinamore.
Kinamore is the youth director for what is now known as East Chattanooga Improvement Inc. The name is so new, the signs have not been changed yet.
She grew up in Chattanooga's Orchard Knob community.
"I can remember walking to school and all the neighbors would look out for me as I went back and forth to school," Kinamore says. "We were a community, we were a village raising children."
She says local communities need to get back to that mindset. Even though Weed and Seed is gone, supporters continue to provide outreach program to tackle violence and health issues.
"We take any kind of volunteers, any kind of financial funding that anyone wants to give us to maintain, to be able to do what we've been doing for the community here," says Kinamore.
"The Lord never created the ghetto," Lucille Wright says. "He made everything absolutely beautiful."
Wright is one of those volunteers. She is the former president of the Avondale Neighborhood Association.
Over the four years of Weed and Seed she has noticed a big difference.
"People don't stand on the street and openly sell drugs like they used to," she says.
Another key component to Weed and Seed, increased police presence.
"I was able to put two guys on nothing but working Weed and Seed," says Lt. Brian Cotter.
Cotter says funding allowed officers to focus solely on patrolling Weed and Seed neighborhoods. Now that the money is gone, it is more of a challenge.
"Now what we're going to have to do, in between calls, work on those problems," Cotter says. "We can still get it done, it was just a whole lot easier having that grant money."
"Regardless of whether we get the money or not, we're going to have to keep going," says Wright.
As far as the city stepping in, city council is looking to extend $20,000 in emergency money to the program.
Council members will vote on the issue at Tuesday night's meeting.
Stay with WRCBtv.com for updates as they become available.