PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — City Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich has looked at several sites, but says the Lantern Building on Liberty Avenue is by far his favorite spot for a police substation. He’s hopeful it will be open to the public and in full use by spring.
Owner of Ulrich Shoe Repair Rex Streno is ready to see more police in the city.
“If that presence is here, I think that’s fantastic,” owner of Ulrich Shoe Repair Rex Streno said. “There’s a lot of guys drinking and fighting out here every day. Every other day that needs to stop out here.”
His business has been in the family for over 100 years and says he’s seen the city go downhill over the years.
“I used to park cars back in the late 70’s and the cops were walking with dogs all over. It was clean as can be. Now it’s like rampant,” Streno said.
Over at Mamma Lucia Pizza on Wood Street, things aren’t much better.
“Yesterday, I had a customer here that this guy out there was bothering him so I had to go and kick him out,” Owner of Mamma Lucia Pizza Behrooz Rahimzadeh said.
“We were actually down here last year at Light Up Night and our car got hit from people trying to run away from a fight so now we won’t come down anymore at night,” Pittsburgh resident Colleen Ellison said.
Hissrich wants to bring in a police substation downtown to increase the police presence and give folks a convenient spot to file police reports. He says the Lantern Building on Liberty Avenue will do the job.
“That’s my favorite. We’ve looked at some buildings that the cost would be astronomical to try and move in,” Hissrich said.
Hissrich says Mayor Bill Peduto is working with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, which owns the Lantern Building, to determine costs to lease it. The substation would be open for at least 12 hours a day or even longer for special events like First Night.
“We want more visibility for the public. We want a place that’s not only for Pittsburgh Police but for Port Authority Police. We have park rangers downtown,” Hissrich said.
This will add to the extra security authorities already added to downtown after various fights and shootings over the summer, including the Fourth of July.
“I think more people would come to town if they had a presence too,” Streno said.