Friday, October 05, 2007

Operation Ceasefire, Tepper's Updates

In remarks during her monthly visit to the Senior Center Tuesday, Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs gave an update on Operation Ceasefire.

Click here to get previous Plaintalker posts on Operation Ceasefire.

The mayor said the city is at the point of recruiting outreach workers to help the effort by canvassing the community to pass out fliers. The job will pay up to $12 an hour, she said.

Presentations on the program have been made at block associations, NAACP and Elks meetings and at churches, she said.

The target date for the program to launch was mid-2007, with the goal of reducing gun violence.

Among other topics, the mayor said she toured the recently finished Tepper’s basement space that the city owns.

“It looks very good,” she said. “It’s a very, very large space.”

The city awarded nearly half a million dollars to George Lattimore’s firm, Solid Rock Construction, to fix up the 17,000-square-foot space, which still has no identified use.

Robinson-Briggs said she is meeting with the City Council and the community to get ideas.

The federal grant money used to finish the space was about to run out in July. It was supposed to be used to put a senior center in the Tepper’s basement, but seniors rejected the plan several years ago. The former Tepper’s department store at Somerset and West Front streets was renovated with 75 apartments on its upper floors, commercial and retail uses at ground level and the city space in the basement. Each component is part of the building’s condo association.

Robinson-Briggs said possible uses for the city portion includes council meeting and office rooms, a community conference room or a main home for city block associations. She said there will be a grand openings “as soon as we do a few other things.”

--Bernice Paglia


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