Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Concerned residents gave Lockport's Impact Team Project two thumbs up at a community meeting Thursday.
The meeting at Refuge Temple, Cottage Street, drew a variety of city dwellers — homeowners, rental property owners, tenants — from in and out of the so-called Impact Zone, the area between Erie and Transit, High and Walnut streets where Lockport police have stepped up patrolling and building inspectors have launched a inspection blitz.
Police community aide Mark Sanders organized the meeting so that residents could ask questions of city officials, mainly Police Chief Lawrence Eggert, regarding government's intentions in the zone.
Officials had been braced for criticism of law enforcement activities including dramatically increased vehicle-and-traffic ticketing in the zone. They thought they might take lumps for appearing to target low-income neighborhoods and ignore other trouble zones in the city.
Instead, the 30 or so residents who came out to talk with them indicated real appreciation for Impact activities — and a desire for more.
An unnamed man who said he owns 10 rental properties in the city said Impact is "good business for me," because if it cuts the crime rate and forces recalcitrant property owners to clean up, hopefully more decent people will want to relocate here.
"We need to keep the area desirable so people will see it as a bedroom community," he said.
Residents asked about the city's plans for handling boarded-up houses and absentee landowners. The city should turn up the heat on problem property owners by listing their names in the newspaper, resident Jean Kiene said.
Sanders announced he's putting together another free "landlord-tenant school," a seminar for rental property owners with information from attorneys, law enforcement officers, building inspectors, and housing court Judge Tom DiMillo, this spring.
Several residents requested the return of LPD foot patrols and a walking K9 patrol to city streets. Both will be once the weather is warmer, Eggert said.