City Council considers task force to try to curb violence in West End

City Council considers task force to try to curb violence in West End
Cincinnati police on scene of a recent shooting in the West End. (Source: FOX19 NOW)

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Cincinnati City Council is considering launching a new multi-city agency task force to try to curtail violence in the West End.

A motion from Council Members David Mann and Betsy Sunderman was discussed Tuesday during the Law & Public Safety Committee meeting.

“If parts of a neighborhood are perceived as being run down with graffiti and things like that it tends to invite activity that is illegal and tends to make things very difficult for people are trying to live their lives there," Mann said.

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The task force would include police, traffic engineers, building inspectors, the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority and others.

The group would hone in on Livingston Avenue, where two recent homicides have occurred nearby, killing Felisa Vanessa Tremble, 53, and Myron Green, 39.

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David Fairbanks, owner and coach at Lion’s Pride Wellness Center, says the crime isn’t deterring him from investing in and believing in the West End.

“Although we are saddened by the continued increase in violence around our city, we are more motivated than ever to provide a safe space for all to train and build towards a healthier lifestyle at Lion’s Pride Wellness Center,” he said Tuesday.

“We appreciate being located centrally in the West End of Downtown Cincinnati and we look forward to continuing our push to share our knowledge on health and wellness with the surrounding communities. A healthy community is a strong community.”

Council also is expected to get an update from Cincinnati’s interim city manager on the cost and feasibility of building a regional gun range in Hamilton County to replace Cincinnati Police Department’s shooting range in Evendale.

Council agreed earlier this year to take a look at the issue in response to repeated noise complaints from leaders of communities near Evendale: Lincoln Heights, Woodlawn and Lockland.

Cincinnati police have told Council they would need about 30 acres of land and a 40,000-square-foot building.

Building a new outdoor range would cost $4.6 million, and the cost of an outdoor one would hit $9.7 million, they said last year.

Those costs do not include the purchase of land.

Cincinnati police have said they have tried to be good neighbors at the range over the years.

The facility is used 300 days a year and provides nearly 50,000 hours of training for officers annually.

It’s also used for police canine training.

Mann said the dilemma with the gun range is cost of moving it.

“We gotta have a gun range. We can’t close it down without an alternative and the alternatives are extremely expensive,” he said.

He said he doesn’t know what the solution is and conceded it may wind up before a judge.

“This is a step in the discussion process and given our budget and other demands on it, it’s hard to have a solution,” Mann said. “I think the gun range was there first. Some decisions were made by some developers in terms of where to locate things like schools.....I’m not familiar with that area of the law. The courts may be the only place to resolve it. That doesn’t mean it’s not a real problem for the people who are raising their families there and hearing the shooting."

The Law & Public Safety Committee also is expected to discuss not de-funding the Cincinnati Police Department and short-term rental nuisance.

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