Steubenville City Council members Tuesday night called for Piece of Pie Park in the LaBelle neighborhood to be closed and dismantled and urged overtime for city police to walk a foot patrol in the LaBelle neighborhood that saw two young people shot and injured Sunday night.
Council members Willie Paul, Mike Johnson and Kenny Davis supported closing the park, which Paul said is no place for children. Mayor Domenick Mucci said while it is sad to even discuss such a closure, he understands the need.
Councilman Greg Metcalf called for City Manager Tim Boland and Police Chief William McCaferty to look at foot patrols to be used in the LaBelle neighborhood, "in case of retaliatory shootings. Councilman Bob Villamagna said the city needs to pay for overtime for the officers.
"I am demanding something be done," he said.
"If we need Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla up, there then do it. We need a joint task force of sheriff's deputies, state police and city police working together. Spend some overtime so those people there can have some safety. This is our city and we are going to take it back. Everybody in this room knows this will take drastic action," stated 6th Ward Councilman Bob Villamagna.
Retired Jefferson County Common Pleas Judge John J. Mascio suggested the police use legal profiling to stop out of town criminals from coming to Steubenville.
"If you see a brand new Cadillac Escalade stopped on the street with a line of people at the car, you know there might be a problem. If you keep hammering these people they will go somewhere else. The residents shouldn't suffer because these bums are coming into our town," Mascio pointed out.
However, Councilman Angela Kirtdoll urged her colleagues to consider how to stop area young people from getting to the point of committing a crime.
"We need to be taking proactive steps or we will continue to be reactive, We had this same discussion two years ago when Moreland Drive residents were here about a shooting in their neighborhood. At that time, I proposed a task force to do something about why this is happening," Kirtdoll said.
Maryland Avenue resident Michael Merritt recounted how a bullet from the Sunday night shooting went through his daughter's bedroom wall.
"I told you this would happen ahead of time and it has happened. This is a Steubenville issue and, as a veteran, I would like to see the veterans get involved. Angels were covering my house that night from top to bottom. But something has to be done," Merritt said.
Laura Sirilla, president of the Hilltop Community Development Corp., said a meeting to discuss the violence on the hilltop neighborhoods will be held at 7 p.m. Sept. 3 at Trinity Medical Center East.