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|State NAACP official urges city council to help south Monroe|
Several south Monroe residents urged the Monroe City Council to remember their area's problems as the city works to implement its comprehensive plan.
The comprehensive plan was recently updated. City officials, community and business leaders and representatives from New York's Peter J. Smith & Co. spent more than a year working on it.
Mayor Jamie Mayo said the updated comprehensive plan will be the "roadmap for the future" with guidelines to improve the city through renovation, beautification and economic development.
The city council unanimously adopted the updated comprehensive plan Tuesday during its regular board meeting.
Prior to adopting the plan, a public hearing was held where a handful of local residents addressed the city council about the plan.
Dr. Ernest Johnson, president of the state chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said the plan encompasses some good ideas on how to improve the city.
However, Johnson said the area considered "old south" Monroe needs special attention. He said the area, especially along Burg Jones Lane where there are numerous schools, needs a number of improvements such as better lighting and sidewalks. Roughly 2,500 students traverse through the area during the school year, Johnson said.
"I've been down there many times," Johnson said. "I come to Monroe at least twice a week because I have a business in this area."
"I would like to lend our assistance to make this happen," Johnson continued. "We would like the city of Monroe to take a leadership role and go ahead and declare this as some sort of historic district. We (NAACP) would like to come back with our contacts and see if we can help in different areas and see if we can get this funded."
South Monroe resident Ronald Hunt Sr. pleaded with the city council to address the high crime rate in his area. He said four home invasions have occurred in his neighborhood since the beginning of the year. His home would have been broken into, according to Hunt, but burglars tripped his security alarm and fled.
"I am very concerned about crime," Hunt said. "We live in a very quite, peaceful neighborhood and we try to keep our neighborhood clean. We're vigilant about keeping our neighborhood safe."
"We've got to do something about this," he said. "It is very serious. These are matters that I hope you will consider. I know no one wants to come into a city where there is a lot of crime."
Councilman Arthur Gilmore said issues affecting south Monroe that could be completed in the short-term should be tackled without any delay.
A couple of those issues include establishing a post office in south Monroe and creating the necessary sidewalks and bike lanes throughout the city, especially the proposed improvements along Burg Jones Lane.
"Before we go and spend millions on a (business) prospect to bring them in here, let's spend money first on our people," Gilmore said.
Gilmore said the updated comprehensive plan was a good plan that addressed issues in every neighborhood within Monroe's city limits.
"Every facet of our life in the city of Monroe is in this plan," Gilmore said. "I hope our citizens endorse it, and I hope this legislative body will put in the necessary funds to make it a reality."