A program created in 2006 to combat crime in trouble areas of the city was set to be dissolved this month.
The Weed and Seed program was created using grant monies in an attempt to reduce drug-related crime.
The original mission statement of the program said it was created to “weed out violent crime, drug trafficking, drug-related crime, prostitution-related crime, general disorder and derelict or sub-standard housing … and then seed these areas through social and economic revitalization.”
The program was directed at the Hunterstown, Middletown and Mexico neighborhoods and included neighborhood problem-solving meetings, cleanups, and activities involving youth and families. At one time, it was overseen by a steering committee that met on a regular basis.
A lack of funding from grant resources has ceased operations for the last several months, and the City Council met this month to officially disband the program.
Mayor Brant Walker says the program has been replaced by other programs and practices that have adopted the goals and aspirations of the Weed and Seed program.
“We are doing everything that program was designed for,” Walker said. “Nothing is going to change. Addressing these issues is a priority, and we are still going to do that. Weed and Seed is just the name that everyone was familiar with.”
The city currently holds regular neighborhood meetings throughout Alton, including problem areas, as a chance for residents to address concerns with the police department and to increase communication. Alton Police Chief Jason “Jake” Simmons also says plans are in the works to revitalize neighborhood watch programs.