Federal Hill Business Leaders Pledge to “Take Back” Their Community
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Over 30 Federal Hill business owners, workers, and residents gathering for an emergency meeting at Costantino's Venda Bar & Ristorante Monday to voice their concerns and formulate a plan of action. Nearly a dozen public officials attended the meeting, including Mayor Angel Taveras.
"At night after 12 p.m., it's a scary place to be, frankly," said Michael Costantino, owner of Venda Ravioli, speaking about the Atwells Avenue location his business resides.
A man was beaten with a 2x4 late last Wednesday on Atwells Ave., and later died from the injuries he sustained. The license for the $3 Bar was suspended by the city after a seperate incident last weekend in which a brawl erupted outside the bar and approximately 25 people were involved.
"We want to have their liquor license revoked on the basis of public safety," Constantino said in regards to $3 Bar. The Federal Hill business owners plan to march downtown to city hall on Wednesday to state their case while a hearing is held to determine the future of $3 Bar.
Joining those protesting $3 bar will be Mayor Taveras, who spoke Monday and said he firmly supported shutting down the $3 Bar.
"This shouldn't be happening anywhere in our city," Taveras said. "I understand how important Federal Hill is."
District 5 Senator Paul Jabour joined many business leaders in demanding more police presence in the area from Taveras and city officials.
"As a Senator, and this being my neighborhood, I want to see police officers here every night until this problem stops," Jabour said. "The reputation of this neighborhood has always been that it is safe."
"We want to combat the negative with a positive," Chef Walter Potenza told GoLocalProv before Monday's meeting. "But it has to be forced upon the political and social leaders of the city and state. Whoever gets integrated has to comply with the culture."
"I don't go anywhere where people don't say, 'What the hell is going on in Federal Hill,'" Chris Tarro, owner of Sienna restaurant, said Monday. "When is enough enough? This has to end. There can be no more meetings. This has to end today."
While the political figures in attendance called Federal Hill a "crown jewel" for the city and the state, Tarro called on the residents and business owners of Federal Hill to lead the charge.
"This is our city. this is our neighborhood," Tarro said. "This is not just business. This is our heritage. This is our home."
Gianfranco Marrocco, one of the owners of $3 Bar, and owner of other businesses in Federal Hill, declined to comment at this time when reached by GoLocalProv.
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