PALM BAY, Fla. – Councilman Kenny Johnson said Palm Bay will host its first workshop next month focusing on stopping crime and other tragedies within 12 square miles of the undeveloped neighborhood called The Compound.
Johnson said during Thursday night’s council meeting that Palm Bay’s city manager will announce the workshop open to the public. It will be held at city hall on Thursday, March 30 at 6 p.m.
“I don’t want to see another young man or woman lose their life,” Johnson said.
In Johnson’s time on the city council, The Compound was where police said a 19-year-old was beaten to a coma, a 13-year-old died in a dirt bike crash, and just on Christmas, where police said the bodies of a 16-year-old and 14-year-old were found with multiple gunshot wounds.
Jeremiah Brown’s family organized a march for justice last month. There are still no arrests.
“You should be afraid if these killers are still walking amongst us,” Chrisel Brown, Jeremiah’s mother, said at the march.
While The Compound is popular for outdoor activities, the lots are private property.
Johnson said the city is inviting those landowners to the workshop.
Some suggestions from Palm Bay residents include putting a fence around The Compound with a single gate exclusively for property owners or condemning the roads because of poor conditions.
Johnson said he doesn’t think shutting down the area is realistic.
“We definitely have to be careful in regard to the legal aspect of The Compound,” the councilman said.
Johnson said the workshop could precede a committee to address The Compound, and long-term ideas could include transforming the land into an industrial or ATV park.
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