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West Shawmut resident asks council to be more proactive

LANETT — A West Shawmut resident asked the Lanett City Council on Monday to be more proactive and less reactive in dealing with issues relating to West Shawmut.

Lamanski Ware said he wished he’d brought this up sooner and felt it needed to be said.

Ware was a star athlete at Lanett High before going on to UAB, where he started in football for four years. At UAB, he earned an undergraduate degree in political science and a master’s in urban planning. He worked for the City of Birmingham as a planner for ten years.

In April, the West Shawmut community drew attention from some large weekend gatherings that were taking place there. Some elderly residents complained that they were reluctant to leave their homes and that people they didn’t know were gathering in groups near their homes and parking their cars nearby. Ware said he understood why this led to heavy police patrols, checkpoints and speed bumps being placed in the streets but that it was not as bad as some people thought.

“It was not as chaotic as some people made it out to be,” he said.

Ware complained that the city will react quickly to negative perceptions in West Shawmut but has long neglected doing positive things for the neighborhood.

“We don’t have any sidewalks, and we don’t have any signs saying ‘Welcome to the West Shawmut community,’’’ he said. “There’s not enough curb appeal there. I appreciate the job Mr. (Jamie) Heard has done for us on the council, but I would like to see the mayor and more city officials coming to West Shawmut from time to time.”

Ware said he’d been in West Shawmut for 30 years and had not seen much in the way of change.

“We had a street repaved there recently, and it was the first time in more than 30 years something like that was done there,” he said. “I would like to see us have some better recreation facilities where youngsters could release energy in a positive way. Fast driving has been a problem there, and something does need to be done about that.”

Ware urged city officials to be positive and not always negative when it came to West Shawmut.

“Work with us and be proactive,” he said. “Don’t be reactive all the time.”