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Posted: 5:53 p.m. Monday, June 4, 2012
By Linzi Sheldon
CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
A group of North Charlotte business owners and advocates is teaming up with CMPD to clean up the North Tryon Corridor.
North End Partners, a nonprofit development group, wants to cut down on crime and help businesses grow.
"We've had some challenges with the area being viewed as derelict," said Charity Kimmel, executive director of North End Partners. "Poor. Not prosperous."
Kimmel thought businesses would jump at the chance to change that and improve safety.
She was mistaken.
"It's terribly frustrating for us," she said.
North End Partners teamed up with CMPD, forming a Crime Watch program.
Officers went door to door, inviting businesses to two meetings about the program and a city grant funding improvements on security systems.
"These improved security systems help us better do our jobs and prevent crime," Lieutenant Jeff Harless said.
The city will reimburse applicants up to 50 percent of the costs, or $5,000, whichever is less.
If applicants use a certified small business to do the improvements, they can even receive up to a thousand dollars more -- up to 60 percent reimbursement.
But only a handful of business owners came to the meetings.
"It's very challenging," Lieutenant Harless said. "It's discouraging sometimes when you invite 300 businesses and 9 show up."
Eyewitness News went door to door to find out why business owners hadn't heard about the grants and what they thought about them.
"I think it's a wonderful idea," said Jimmy Delargy of Delargy's Print Solutions. "This is kind of a tough stretch here."
Delargy said he wasn't at work when officers went through the neighborhood.
But he said businesses may not be interested unless they've experienced crime firsthand, which his business has not.
Kimmel said if any business owners are daunted by the paperwork, they'll walk them through it.
"Both North End Partners and the city has said, 'We're happy to help you,'" she said.
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