GREENVILLE, PITT COUNTY -

The forum allowed community leaders and citizens to discuss hot topics affecting the Greenville and Pitt County area.

The Greenville Community Summit was held at the Conference Center at 400 St. Andrews Drive in Greenville on Thursday.

Leaders discussed various topics including North Carolina's legal criminal age.

North Carolina and New York are the only states that automatically consider a 16 & 17-year-old to be an adult, no matter the crime they commit.

Pitt County District Attorney Kimberly Robb said the law is important to determine justice for victims.

"What concerns me is a violent offender. If a person goes out and commits an armed robbery or a homicide and they are 16 or 17-years-old the most they can get would be to be in a juvenile detention center until they are 21 and that's not enough time for violent crimes," Robb said.

However, not everyone agreed.

"You can't treat a 16-year-old as an adult because they aren't an adult. They don't think like an adult. You don't allow them to vote or join the military services ...So why would you treat them as an adult if you don't treat them as an adult in these other instances?," Willie Wilson, a Greenville resident said.

It's a dialogue that will continue between the community and the government.

Robb said that even though the topic was raised, no decision can be made on the local level. It's something that would have to be changed through the state legislature.

Another hot topic discussed is the traffic problem in Greenville.

City and State leaders were on hand to discuss the issue and talk about solutions. Greenville's director of public works, Kevin Mulligan, said the roads just haven't kept up with the city's growth.

"We probably haven't kept up with it. It's been a little difficult when the population has doubled in the last 20 years," Mulligan said.

After the forum was over, residents reacted to the discussion on traffic.

"It's a problem at certain times of the day. The prime times in the morning and the afternoon. Greenville Boulevard and other streets are difficult to access," Wilson said.

"It's just not moving. You know the traffic is sitting still too long. So yes, the timing will be critical but it's just to be consistent throughout. You can't move from one space to the next and then sit still," Randy Alford said.

City leaders stated they plan to look at the timing of the traffic signals. Council member Calvin Mercer said he's excited about the upcoming 10th street connector project.

“We are going to have the downtown uptown area of Greenville connect to the hospital. How amazing is that,” Mercer said.

After that project gets underway, Mercer said they plan to focus on the proposed 11 mile Southwest Bypass, which will run from Memorial Drive to the existing US 264 interchange.

Officials said the Southwest Bypass project will cost $225 million dollars to build and they are still looking for funding to get the project started.