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Posted on: December 25, 2016

Police are a top priority in 2017

Greenwood Mayor Carolyn McAdams has made her wish list for 2017. Law enforcement — which includes, among other things, hiring more police officers and the possible implementation of ShotSpotter technology — is at the top.

“My main concern is our Police Department, in trying to figure out how to get new policemen,” McAdams said.

The department is short nine full­-time officers, and recruiting efforts have slowed in recent years.
“It’s not just a struggle in Greenwood,” McAdams said. “It’s a struggle because of what is thrown at police departments — the disrespect — all of which has made it almost impossible. We’re going to have to do something.”

Recently, the City Council approved new restrictions on police hires to ensure that the recruits serve long enough for the city to recoup the training costs. This was done because a number of recruits completed training at city expense, only to leave for departments that offered better pay and benefits.

ShotSpotter, a system that can pinpoint random gunfire, would require an initial purchase cost of $225,000 and up to $100,000 for contract services for one year. Once in place, its annual price tag would decrease.

McAdams said she toyed with the idea of placing ShotSpotter on the council’s agenda in December and then thought better of it.

“They know the tool is there. They know my feelings on it,” she said, adding that council members “weren’t too thrilled about the price.”
McAdams said it is not simply a question of having additional officers on the streets. Even with more manpower, “you’re not going to stop the shots,” she said.

Another police-­related matter will be the $3.2 million renovation of the Police Department on Main Street, which is scheduled for April.
McAdams also looks forward to the completion of Rail Spike Park in 2017.

She said W.L. Burle Engineers PA of Greenville, the engineers on the project, have asked for more time. The request for an extension is in the hands of City Attorney Don Brock Jr.

“We will give them some time,” McAdams said. “Will we give them all the time they’ve requested? I doubt it.”

Some of the plantings that were scheduled for the park have been removed from the plans.

Meanwhile, “the trees will be planted, and I think my city crews will be planting those,” McAdams said.

Main Street renovations, which were stymied for a time, are moving ahead. Work has begun on the second of four blocks, which will conclude at Rail Spike Park.

McAdams said work on Fulton Street should begin in the new year. The work, paid for by an $800,000 grant from the state Department of Transportation, will provide for overlaying from Keesler Bridge toward downtown “as far as $800,000 will take it,” she said.

Streets are a pressing concern.

Two years ago, the city spent $1.7 million on repaving, and “I wish I could say I had another $1.7 million,” the mayor said.

McAdams said Washington Street near the Greenwood Housing Authority headquarters and the U.S. Post Office is in especially bad shape.
“There are some streets that we’re just going to have to find funding for,” she said.

In 2017, McAdams said she intends to use a $40,000 Urban Youth grant for beautification of the entranceway to the city on U.S. 82.
The grant, which provides summer jobs for youth, has previously been used for beautification projects on the west side of U.S. 82 and Bowie Lane.

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