Hed: Council approves N. Gloster improvement bid

By Philip Moulden

Daily Journal

Tupelo’s City Council approved a $1.075 million bid Tuesday night for improvements to North Gloster Street, including rebuilding the Lakeshire Drive-Green Street-Gloster Street intersection.

City officials said the low bid, by Ellis Construction Co. of Columbus, came in $125,000 below estimates.

“We’re real proud with the way the bids came in,” City Chief Operations Officer Joe Benefield said. “There were some real competitive bids.”

The second low bid was only $7,000 more than the low bid, Benefield noted.

The project would extend five lanes on Gloster from just north of the McCullough Boulevard interchange to an area adjacent to the state Department of Transportation facility north of Green Street. Plans call for the work to begin about the middle of next month with completion by the spring of 1997.

Eighty percent of the cost will come through the federal Surface Transportation Program. The city will cover the other 20 percent.

In other action, the council received the findings of a citizens task force formed to look for solutions to the juvenile crime problem.

“A great deal is being done … but it’s never quite enough,” Doyce Deas said of the findings of the Community 2000 Task Force on Juvenile Crime. “The problem is only getting larger.

“We just realize there’s a problem there, and we need a more coordinated and cohesive program to address juvenile crime,” Deas said.

The task force was created in 1994 after a citizens poll of roughly 6,500 people in Lee County showed juvenile crime to be the top concern of residents.

The task force’s leading recommendation was construction of a permanent juvenile detention facility by 1998.

“It is dismal,” Deas said of the present temporary juvenile facility. “Quite frankly, its condition is just not good at all.”

Other recommendations include:

– Provide clerical assistance to the youth court counselor’s office.

– Prove law enforcers adequate computer programs to track juvenile offenders.

– Seek immediate funding to participate in programs to develop a coordinated, collaborative youth crime prevention, diversion and rehabilitation system.

– Encourage school systems to initiate strong intervention programs at the elementary level.

“I appreciate and applaud what this council has already done … but we need to do more,” Deas said.

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