University City is considering additional measures to curb troublesome teen-agers in the Loop.
At a Tuesday night public budget meeting, City Manager Lehman Walker said at its next meeting, the City Council will take up an ordinance dealing with anyone blocking pedestrians on the sidewalk and or traffic in the street.
"We're not providing warnings to people anymore. If you don't behave yourself, we give you a ticket," he said. The maximum fine is $1,000.
Walker stressed that the incidents of unruly teens only happened during one weekend and involved some 'bad apples.' "This past weekend I was down there both nights. It was fine," he said,
Walker said U City is devoting significant resources to ensure that there are no more problems in the Loop. "The Loop is an important economic generator for the City and we can't afford to let a bunch of young folks ruin that."
Walker used the issue of unruly youth in the Loop to speak in support of one of his budget initiatives, charging a dollar for parking on City owned lots in the Loop.
He said Loop business owners need to realize that it costs the City money to add police officers and implement other security measures. "I'm hoping to convince business people in the Loop and the Special Business District that it can't all be one way," said Walker. "For us to allocate additional police resources costs us money. We have to take them (police officers) from somewhere else and put them in the Loop."
He said business owners can't demand increased security and yet balk at the possibility of charging for parking. "If two of you are going down there for dinner and spending $50.00, asking you for a dollar is probably not going to break the bank."
No final decision has been made on paying for parking in the Loop.
Another one of Walker's budget initiatives is closing during the week, renting it out only on weekends. The problem is, U City seniors use the center every afternoon. Walker said his solution would be to transfer the seniors to.
Walker said a lot of people don't use Centennial Commons during weekday mornings and afternoons.
"From where I sit at least, it's a good opportunity. We have two buildings that are not being well utilized." He said Heman Community Center costs the City a lot of money. It's not energy efficient and during the week other than the seniors being in it, it gets very little use, Walker said. At Centennial Commons senior can use the walking track and exercise machines. Plus, it would costs them nothing to use the facilities.
Walker said at Heman Community Center there really isn't anything for the seniors to do but play cards and eat. "At Centennial Commons there is all kinds of things for people to do," he said.
Walker said he has spoken directly with seniors at Heman and many are in favor of moving to Centennial Commons, although he added a couple seniors oppose the idea.
Some of the seniors like the current location at Heman because they like to walk over to the and . Walker said the City is addressing that issue, and has proposed doing a once a week trip to those stores.
Walker said seniors would still receive hot meals at Centennial Commons. He said they have steam tables there. He said the room the seniors would use would hold up to 100 people, which is plenty of room to accommodate the seniors. He said on a busy day, between 40 and 50 seniors show up at Heman.
No final decision has been made on moving the seniors from Heman Community Center.
If the City does decide to move forward with limiting hours at Heman, Walker said it would happen over the next several months.
"I'm looking at melding the two, but it has to make sense and it does not have to be done overnight," Walker said." I've got enough battles to fight without fighting the seniors."
Other City officials at Tuesday's budget meeting included, Mayor Shelley Welsch and Councilmembers Arthur Sharpe and L. Michael Glickert.