STEUBENVILLE - Ed Hofrichter smiled Tuesday night when City Council members unanimously voted in favor of rezoning the Rose property.
After two years of looking at several area buildings and searching for the right site to expand his business, the owner of the California based H&H Screening and Graphics company now can proceed with plans to open a second operation in Steubenville to service his Nike, Adidas and Reebok corporate customers on the East Coast and Canada.
Attorney Bill Blake, who represented Hofrichter throughout the rezoning request process, said H&H Screening and Graphics East "will initially start within the confines of the Rose with the opportunity to expand on the 7-acre site and will initially start with approximately 35 employees."
CALLING FOR TASK FORCE — Fourth Ward Councilwoman Angela Suggs called upon city leaders to help start a crime prevention initiative by forming a task force. Suggs said lower unemployment and more education opportunities for young African-American men will help combat violence in the community.
-- Dave Gossett
No one spoke against the rezoning proposal that received unanimous support last week from the city's planning and zoning commission.
"This is a good project for our community. This is a win-win for our area," said Progress Alliance Executive Director Ed Looman.
In other business during the council meeting, 4th Ward Councilwoman Angela Suggs called for city leaders to create a crime prevention task force.
"Last month we heard from several residents who came here to discuss shots fired in their neighborhood.
"I am recommending we form a task force for a crime prevention initiative. We need to reduce the violence in our community by reducing unemployment rates and encouraging more young African-American men to pursue higher education. We are giving the local drug dealers a very good work force because of the high unemployment rates," stated Suggs.
"But I am suggesting we look at different task forces that have been formed and have been successful in other communities.
"There is no data that support the idea tougher gun laws, harsher sentences or more police have a reduction in crime. But there is a direct correlation between areas with low unemployment, high educational attainment, lower poverty rates and lower crime rates," continued Suggs.
"When you put people in jail, a new group will arise in a few years and we will be here again. We need to take away the drug dealers work force. Incarceration costs more than education," added Suggs.
Mayor Domenick Mucci said he supports Suggs' proposal and promised, "we will not allow these thugs and 'wanna-be' thugs to take over our streets."
During a Council Pride Committee meeting earlier Tuesday evening, Suggs proposed a city beautification committee be formed to encourage residents' pride in their neighborhoods.
"This is designed to motivate individuals, residents, businesses, service clubs, churches and nonprofit groups to take pride in the vacant properties throughout the community with the potential of land ownership," said Suggs.
In other matters, council heard a third and final reading for revisions to the city employee table of organization.
Also, emergency legislation to approve a $75,000 settlement with former firefighter Paul Bowman in order to settle two lawsuits filed after he was fired from his job was approved.
Fire Department Capt. Curtis Wickham spoke against the financial settlement calling the ordinance, "an admission of guilt. The city should use the money for better things."
The city's share of the settlement was $12,500.
A first reading was heard for two ordinances that will govern and regulate any future arcades or Internet gambling cafes in the city, and council heard a first reading for an ordinance authorizing advertising for covers for the super pulsators at the water filtration plant.
A commendation was approved for Steubenville High School graduate and University of Pittsburgh sophomore Josh Thompson, who recently participated in the International Amateur Athletic Federation World Junior Championships in Barcelona, Spain.
Council also approved the appointment of Rob D'Anniballe, Mark Teramana, Debbie Venci and Ed Florak to the new Jefferson County Port Authority.
(Gossett can be contacted at email@example.com.)