Mount residents ask to have neighborhood patroled by Zone 6
Some residents are asking the city to designate the Zone 6 West End police station as the provider of public safety services for Mount Washington instead of the Zone 3 station in Allentown.
Their request was aired at a public meeting chaired by Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith at St. Mary of the Mount's social hall. The purpose of the meeting was to gain input from constituents on a variety of issues, she said. More than 30 persons attended.
Ms. Kail-Smith brought along Public Works Director Robert W. Kaczorowski, Public Safety Director Michael H. Huss and John Jennings of the Bureau of Building Inspections to respond to questions.
The complaining residents felt the Mount is being ignored because police send most of their Zone 3 patrols to South Side.
Mr. Huss denied this was true and said only when there is an emergency are most of the cars sent to a particular section of the city.
"You understand that we look out for the whole city," Mr. Huss said. "When something serious happens, we might have to pull officers. We don't do it very often."
Public officials are considering granting the residents' request to have Zone 6 handle Mount Washington calls.
One lady disagreed with them and said she noticed more of a police presence in the neighborhood since the Zone 3 station moved from South Side to Allentown. Another person told of observing drug deals at a certain location and calling the police repeatedly about them.
"That is being worked on. I can't tell you much more than that," Mr. Huss replied.
A resident said he had heard the department had a shortage of police cars.
"At this moment in time, no. There was a time when there was a shortage of cars," Mr. Huss said.
There also was a complaint that night that cars speed though the alley next to the Shiloh Avenue post office.
Ms. Kail-Smith announced a tour of Mount Washington was being planned to show real estate professionals what the community has to offer to homebuyers.
Mr. Kaczorowski said his biggest challenge this year was to try to pave more streets than what was done in recent years. He said all parts of the city would be affected. He listened to complaints about faded crosswalks lines throughout the Mount.
"How often are [the lines] supposed to be done?" the Public Work director was asked. "Annually" was his answer.
The officials heard more complaints about the condition of developer Craig Cozza's two undeveloped properties along Grandview Avenue. Residents are angry the areas have become eyesores and have remained undeveloped for a long time.
"I want to see him get big fines. I'm done with him. He is hard to deal with. This is very frustrating," a lady said.
"We got him back to the table. Every time I have asked him to do something, he has done it," Ms. Kail-Smith said.
During the summer of last year, BBI cited Mr. Cozza and District Magisterial Judge James Motznik fined him $8,000. BBI agreed to drop the citations against him after he provided shoring to stabilize the property bordered by Sweetbriar and Augusta streets, Mr. Jennings told the group.
The Mount Washington Community Development Corporation planned to have artwork from students at the Art Institute adorn the fencing along the properties to make them more attractive. Residents said Mr. Cozza has not responded to MWCDC phone calls about the matter.
Mr. Cozza met with Ms. Kail-Smith and MWCDC board members last year to discuss their concerns. "The condo market is not that great right now," he said at the time.
Ms. Kail-Smith said she thought the meeting that night with constituents was productive. "What I do is get people together," she said.