Crime and bickering bother Ward 6

EDITOR’s NOTE
This is the sixth part of a seven-part series about Tupelo’s wards. Each ward elects a representative to serve on the City Council. Candidate responses to an issue questionnaire will be published in a special section for Tupelo readers in Monday’s Daily Journal. Primary elections for this position, as well as for mayor, will be May 5. The general election will be June 2.

TUPELO – With a few exceptions, many of the city’s newest housing developments have emerged in Ward 6.
The large west-central district is home to such recently built subdivisions as The Villages, Charleston Gardens, Rowan Oak, Harvester’s Square, Countrywood Cove, Medowlake Park, Gun Club and Spring Lake.
It also has a few more-established residential areas, like the Wildwood and South Thomas Street neighborhoods.
Ward 6 residents share space with the Tupelo Regional Airport, Ballard Park, the Sportsplex, Tupelo High School, some of the West Main Street and Coley Road commercial district and part of the Natchez Trace Parkway.
Nearly 4,900 people live here – nine in 10 of them are white.
While residents of the newer subdivisions cite few concerns affecting their ways of life, those in the older areas say crime is a major problem.
“Crime – it’s just spilling over,” said Charlene Fulghum of the South Thomas Street Neighborhood Association, a 28-year resident of the area. “In the beginning, there was no crime and no noise, and it was a wonderful place to live. Within the last few years, there has been crime and loud vehicles and loud boom-boom music.”
Fulghum said the district needs more police presence and more code enforcement to clean up the undesirable elements. Residents in the Gun Club area and Wilemon Acres, a small portion of which dips into Ward 6, echoed Fulghum’s comments.
“There are a lot of concerns,” said Rochelle Tullos of the Gun Club area. “There is crime, people speed, the road has still not been addressed, and there are rental houses when there is not supposed be.”
But other portions of the ward seem safe and clean, according to residents there.
“We’re still a relatively new subdivision, so things are in pretty good shape, good streets and all,” said Eddie Martin, president of the Spring Lake Homeowners Association. “The displeasure folks would take as far as the administration would be all the bickering that we’ve continually heard by the council, and the waste of money.”
Martin specifically cited the two-year ethics study that cost taxpayers roughly $140,000 as a source of wasted spending. So did Natt Grubbs of Charleston Gardens.
Grubbs said he’d like to know what Ward 6 City Council candidates will do with the ethics report that came from that study and how they’ll move Tupelo beyond the controversy.
Republican Mike Bryan represents Ward 6 and is seeking a second term. He faces Perry Smith and Russ Wilson in the May 5 primary. The winner will face either Scott Davis or Mary Estes Hallman in the June 2 general election.
Many of the residents on the westernmost side of the ward said they’re also eager to know what the candidates will do about the expected closing of West Jackson Street Extended. The road connects west Tupelo to the rest of the city and will soon close so the airport can lengthen its runway.
Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@djournal.com.

 

Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal