Lexington Urban County Council member Chris Ford gave a preliminary report to council members at their Tuesday work session from the Commission on Youth Development and Public Safety, outlining several recommendations aimed at curbing youth violence.
Mayor Jim Gray appointed the commission last summer after a rash of shootings in which several young people died or were seriously injured. The commission includes 50 volunteers from such fields as social services, public safety, the faith community, city government and education.
Two of the recommendations Ford described would require funding in the city budget for fiscal year 2013.
One would expand the summer youth employment program from 150 jobs, adding 75 jobs in 2013 and 75 jobs in 2014. Each job costs $1,000, Ford said.
Another recommendation calls for creating the position of youth community coordinator to help establish summer programs in city parks and playgrounds. Ford said a cost estimate for the position probably would be included in the final report, expected in about two weeks.
The commission will make seven recommendations in its final report.
East End resident Cory Dunn urged the council to "put a little pep in your step" and fund the initiatives as quickly as possible. "We need to have some sense of urgency," Dunn said, to get programs in place for this summer to prevent more shootings.
Council member Tom Blues said he was concerned that nothing in the recommendations addressed the issue of guns.
"How do teenagers get guns?" he asked. "How do they get ammunition? How is it as a community we let guns flourish and be so readily available?"
Police commander Lawrence Weathers said that when police are invited to speak to neighborhood associations and church groups, they urge people, "Don't be afraid to talk to the young people you know about the danger of guns."