'It's horrible.' City resident seeks police intervention to end criminal activity around Washington Avenue
There’s some serious stuff going on around Washington Avenue, Willow Street and State Street -- and at least one resident is imploring City Council to do something about it.
“I’m just here tonight because I’m concerned about the neighborhood,” said Lynne Geissler, (in photo at top), noting that she has lived at Washington and Willow for four years. “I understand that it’s a different neighborhood.”
Geissler, speaking during the public comments portion of tonight’s Conference Meeting at City Centre Council Board Room, mentioned the increase in “criminal action,” adding that it is “horrible” and is taking place at all hours of the night, causing her to lose sleep.
“There’s got to be some way that … I don’t know,” she said. “I was going to go to the police department to talk to the police chief but they’re not letting anybody in (or so she believed). So, I figured I’d come down here to talk, to see, because there’s a lot of things going on and it has to be taken care of.”
She brought up that she has health issues and understands that drugs and mental disorders are real problems.
“But when you’re having the police at your house 20 times in a four-day period, and our landlord can’t do anything (and) we as tenants can’t do anything,” she said. “There’s got to be some way – CPS (Child Protective Services), there’s mental health, everybody’s involved but nothing’s getting fixed.”
Jankowski advised her to talk with Police Chief Shawn Heubusch directly after the meeting and set up an appointment.
Council Member Kathleen Briggs said that she has received calls from people living on State Street “and they’re telling me that they do call police and police are responding.”
“I also told them that they should contact their landlords and they said the landlords aren’t doing anything,” she added. “Police are doing what they can but don’t you think we have to hold these landlords accountable?”
It was mentioned that these instigators should be evicted, but current laws against eviction have tied landlords’ hands.
Geissler said her landlord is sympathetic but indicated that “if he went to evict someone right now – if it was one of his houses – it would be nine to 12 months before that person would be out.”
Afterward, Heubusch acknowledged that officers are dealing with "some serious things" and, without getting into details, said that investigations are ongoing.
“We will look into this further,” he said.
BOYD RESUMES DISC GOLF PITCH
Last month, city resident Phillip Boyd came to a City Council meeting to promote the placement of a disc golf course at a city park.
He reappeared tonight, flanked by six other disc golf enthusiasts, and said he has mapped out a course that would take up about two-thirds of Centennial Park, the 14-acre natural setting located in the north-central part of the city.
Boyd said he also has prices for how much sponsorship would cost.
“Now, I’m just looking for it to be actually brought up as an agenda item,” he said.
With that, City Council President Eugene Jankowski advised him to turn all his documents over to City Manager Rachael Tabelski and work with her going forward.
Two of his friends, Doug Forsyth and Louis Ortiz, also went up to the podium, speaking briefly while indicating that they backed Boyd’s efforts.
Forsyth said he heard about the matter from reading The Batavian and wanted to let Council know that his group has secured some funding for the initiative.
Tabelski said Centennial Park is the preferred location. She added that she will review Boyd’s proposal with department heads with the expectation of providing a recommendation to Council at the July 12 meeting.
In legislative matters, Council approved:
- A resolution to apply for a Community Development Block Grant to help fund an estimated $1.36 million project to replace 4- and 6-inch water lines on Jackson Street with 2,250 linear feet of 8-inch water main, and another setting a public hearing on the matter for 7 p.m. July 12. Tabelski said she thinks the grant, if received, could fund up to 90 percent of the project cost.
- A resolution to award V.J. Gautieri Constructors $18,800 from the city’s Revolving Loan Fund Grant to help replace sidewalks at the Ellicott Place project at 45-47 Ellicott St. (Save-A-Lot building).