Crime concerns raised over planned Tubman closure

Yolanda Putman (Times Free Press) | March 31, 2011

Harriet Tubman residents and surrounding homeowners warn that closing the public housing development as planned could cause crime to spread in residential areas from North Brainerd to Alton Park and set the stage for new violence among rival gangs. “It’s going to be war,” said Tubman resident Jessica Drew. They say they’ve seen it happen before. Jesse Phillips, 75, said her Menlo Street neighborhood in North Brainerd, about three miles from Harriet Tubman, was a nice community occupied mostly by senior citizens when she moved there in 1966.

Since then, though, it has become more infiltrated with people participating in criminal activity, and the closure or demolition of other Chattanooga public housing sites helped to feed the problem, she said. Problems started in the late 1980s with the closing of the privately owned Citico Apartments, she said. Then the city’s largest public housing site, Spencer J. McCallie Homes with nearly 1,000 residents, was demolished in 2002 and Poss Homes, with about 500 residents, closed three years later. With each closure, Phillips said she saw more crime in her neighborhood.

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