Project to improve Greenville's west side enters second year

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - One year after starting a project to transform their community, people gathered together to talk about the progress they've made and the work that still needs to be done.

Police officers, city council members, and community members gathered at CM Eppes Recreation Center on Tuesday for an update on the Westgate Project in Greenville.

It's an initiative founded as a partnership between the non-profit group NC Civil and the Greenville Police Department and built with the idea of creating a responsive relationship between the community of West Greenville and law enforcement.

"Last year was a year of us coming together around that common cause, learning our own strengths and weaknesses, and figuring out how we can create one collective way to service our community better," says Jermaine McNair, the founding director of NC Civil.

Since its inception, the Westgate Project has boasted a number of accomplishments including pop-up markets and fairs that introduce members of the community to certain partners that are looking to make improvements in the area.

It has also created an understanding between the police department and NC Civil that any young person between the age of 16 and 24 arrested in the west zone is offered help through the organization with the idea that an arrest does not have to be a life-defining event.

"It's a great outreach," says Lt. David Anderson, the west zone commander. "So it gives us the opportunity to reach out to the community and have some good candid discussions and let the community know essentially what we are doing."

As the project enters its second year, leaders say that collaboration will be the key in the future as they work to continue building stronger partnerships to better serve the area.

Tuesday night, NC Civil also introduced the Community Employment Pipeline, which was created in pursuit to increase the community's access to resources and careers with organizations such as Vidant Health and Pitt Community College.