By Robbie Ward
TUPELO – Mayor Jason Shelton will fulfill a campaign promise next week when he has a small ceremony to unlock City Hall’s front door for public use.
During Shelton’s campaign earlier this year, he often talked about making City Hall more accessible. For more than three years now, the front door to City Hall has remained locked, causing visitors to walk around to the back entrance, where a police officer has them enter through a metal detector.
In June 2010, a man with a medical condition entered City Hall with a Bible and handgun with intentions of speaking to then-Mayor Jack Reed Jr. That resulted in the decision to lock the front door.
Shelton said the front door will be officially unlocked at 9 a.m. on Tuesday.
“Literally and figuratively, City Hall will be open to the public,” he said. “We campaigned on the notion of being open and accessible and being friendly to the citizens.”
A number of community events are held in the front lawn of City Hall in Fairpark, an area called the city’s “front porch.”
Shelton said he consulted with employees at City Hall before making the decision to unlock the front door. A police officer will stay at City Hall but won’t stay at the south entrance of the building. Instead, he’ll patrol throughout the building. The metal detector likely will remain in the south entrance to the building.
A “no firearms” sign is posted at the building.