There was lots of news in the city of Ashland this past week.
The city is following through on its promise to address calls for more help from law enforcement to deal with issues of crime, vagrants and drug activity in East Central Ashland. The city is developing plans for a mobile police substation to be deployed in the East Central neighborhood.
“We've had meetings with people in East Ashland,” said DJ Rymer, the city's program and grant specialist. “This has spurred from their concerns.”
The focus is on 29th street, to 34th street, to Montgomery Avenue, to Winchester Avenue, due to the increase in crime activity, said Chris Pullem, the city's economic development director.
The substation project is included in the 2018 amended action plan for the Community Development Block Grant that was approved during a recent Board of Commissioners meeting. The city is allocating $150,000 to this project from the 2018 Community Development Block Grant funds. This will allow the acquisition of the substation itself minus furnishings.
We think a mobile police station is a really, really good idea. The city is also hiring more officers. The two steps combined will be of great assistance to the citizens. All of this is money well spent and demonstrates solid leadership in following through with what the citizens have asked for. We also think it is important to note that police have been working on this problem, but a physical presence in the neighborhood like this will be a very strong deterrent. Also we love the idea of being able to move the substation as deemed necessary.
The city also said this past week it was reviewing the quality of some construction on 29th Street -- namely sidewalks. A diligent citizen noticed cracks in parts of the sidewalks and questioned the quality of construction of the sidewalks.
"A lot of things aren't to our satisfaction," Mayor Steve Gilmore said. "We actually have a warranty for 12 months."
A staffer at the Daily Independent went out and looked at the areas in question and did notice some apparent flaws in the work, but we don't pretend to be experts on this, though. Are they minor or significant? In our view the city should get an informed, independent opinion and then make sure the proper steps are taken to protect the taxpayer. That includes protection on money spent and what it will cost to make it right if those next steps are, in fact, necessary.