PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — South Side business owners and residents are working with Mayor Ed Gainey to find solutions to make the neighborhood a better and safe area.
This comes after several weekends have been disrupted by gunfire, forcing some businesses to permanently close their doors.
During a community meeting Tuesday night, residents and business owners made suggestions on how to reduce the violence.
“I say the biggest takeaway is probably eliminating the underage clientele that’s frequenting the South Side and also kind of just reducing over-serving guests and just being vigilant regarding guests that might be already intoxicated prior to entering this establishment,” said Derrick James, consulting general manager for Cosmo’s on Carson Street.
Other ideas included putting a curfew in place and enforcing occupancy limits inside bars.
“We are very, very vigilant as far as when it comes to checking how many guests are here,” James said.
The fire department said if it finds a business over capacity, the business will receive a $1,000 fine per person. But some business owners said that even limiting how many people are inside won’t help what’s happening on the streets.
“If the bars are filled, they’re filled, but it’s another problem with just a line out the door,” said Dominic Venturino, owner of Glassburgh Smoke Shop.
He said there are always two lines of people going past his door, with people waiting to go inside and bar or club. He said it adds to the number of people standing around on the streets.
He said a curfew could help with those loitering in the area.
“People are hanging out till three, four or five, six in the morning,” Venturino said.
Other residents said there needs to be more police in the area, including mounted patrols.
Business owners told KDKA that they felt the meeting was productive and hope to continue working together to make change for the better.