Crime-reduction funds spread to Cleveland neighborhoods

Crime-reduction funds spread to Cleveland neighborhoods

March 13th, 2012 by Randall Higgins in News

Janice Casteel

BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB UNITS

Tucker -- Third Street

George Johnson Teen -- Third Street

Blythe -- Blythe Avenue

Reba M. Powers -- Lay Street

Cleveland State -- Adkisson Drive

Harlen Painter -- 11th Street

Benton -- Clemmer Ferry Road

Source: Cleveland Boys and Girls Club

CLEVELAND, Tenn. - The Boys and Girls Club is using its share of a federal grant to take its programs beyond the walls of the clubs.

Cleveland is one of six midsize cities in Tennessee that are halfway through Tennessee Targeted Community Crime Reduction grants. Cleveland's $800,000 grant brings together city, police, schools and nonprofit organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club to target the south and east sides of town.

Derrick Kinsey, the club's director of operations, told grant partners at their monthly meeting Tuesday that the club's long list of programs for education, sports, arts and character development are available throughout the targeted area, as well as in the rest of the city and in Benton, Tenn.

"We like to create an oasis," Kinsey said. "We are always trying to strategically locate our clubs."

Director Charlie Sutton said the club is "changing and saving lives."

The Cleveland club has seven units, about half in the targeted areas. Technological devices, including computers and smartboards, are helping kids with homework and reinforcing their schoolwork, officials said. The club is bringing the same programs to the city's recreation centers.

Last month, the partners heard how the Cleveland Police Department is working in the targeted area, including the outreach efforts of two officers whose positions are funded through the grant that ends in 2013.

Next month, the Bradley County Juvenile Courts intervention programs will be in the spotlight.

"Even if the grant ceases to be funded, we need to stay engaged at some level," Juvenile Court Director Terry Gallaher told the partners Tuesday.

"These partners have been able to take that money and put programs on the ground," said Janice Casteel who, as Cleveland's city manager, is the local grant administrator.

The partner agencies were asked Tuesday to sign a form letter to local congressional representatives. The letter, from Jim Higgins, program manager for the Tennessee Office of Criminal Justice Programs, urges "strong funding" from Congress for the grant program through the U.S. Department of Justice.