STEUBENVILLE - City Council members on Tuesday heard from two local residents who expressed concerns about gunfire in their LaBelle and Pleasant Heights neighborhoods.
"I am here to put the city on notice. There is a gang drug war going on in the city and something needs to be done," declared Nathaniel Richmond of Wellesley Avenue.
City Police are investigating several reports of shots fired in recent weeks.
Sara DiCarlantonio of Lawson Avenue said the number of shooting reports in her neighborhood "are getting out of hand."
"I believe the fact we have police officers laid off has something to do with this. If we don't take back our streets they are going to take over our streets. This room should be packed with people irate over what is going on," DiCarlantonio told City Council.
During the regular meeting Tuesday, council approved one ordinance to allow the finance department to transfer $449,000 from the street fund to the AARA Federal Grant fund.
According to Finance Director Alyssa Kerker, the money will be used to pay for the initial replacement of city traffic light bulbs with LED bulbs.
"The AARA Federal Grant is reimbursable, so as we see work completed we will be applying for reimbursement which will be put back into the street fund," said Kerker.
Second Ward Councilman Rick Perkins cast the sole negative vote on the ordinance and later said he would be voting no on emergency legislation.
In other matters City Manager Cathy Davison recommended council accept a $48,587 bid from Fort Steuben Maintenance to replace the sink and urinal in the park restroom, a shelter roof, install new playground equipment and add a half court basketball facility at Beatty Park.
Fort Steuben Maintenance was the apparent low bidder for the improvements to Beatty Park. The Steubenville-based company was one of four companies to submit bids for the project.
Other bids included the Cattrell Cos. of Toronto at $53,240; Swiss Valley Associates of Hannibal, $50,227; and the John Russell Co. of Steubenville at $52,486.
The Beatty Park improvements were made possible after the city's planning and zoning commission and City Council authorized Urban Projects Director Chris Petrossi to re-program approximately $55,000 in unused Community Development Block Grant funds to the park fund.
Davison said the project will include a sink replacement, new urinals and two additional free standing playgrounds in Beatty Park since the bid was under the $55,000.
Teresa DiCarlantonio, president of the Hilltop Community Development Corp., said her organization will conduct its annual spring cleanup in the LaBelle and Pleasant Heights neighborhoods on April 16.
And 3rd Ward Councilman Greg Metcalf called for a pride committee meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday to discuss the planned citywide cleanup set for April 30, the Hometown parade in June, proposed July 4 activities in the city and partnering with Franciscan University of Steubenville on future projects.
Council is scheduled to meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in executive session to continue discussions on contract negotiations with the 82-member American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Union Local 2015, said Davison. The union is working under a one-year contract extension that will expire in May.
Council met for a 75-minute executive session Tuesday for an update on the contract negotiations as well as personnel issues in the water department.
(Gossett can be contacted at email@example.com.)