Acting City Manager Harry Walker III outlined a plan for a series of meetings to be scheduled for specific areas of the city. Walker also touched on a program that is presently being worked on to help bring jobs into the city. His plans for the city highlighted Monday night's council session.
"There's a concern about some of the negative things happening in the city," Walker said. "Because of these concerns, meetings will be set up in specific areas of the city. They will involve the residents, members of the police department, and members of council."
Walker, as his custom, addressed the council members and a large citizen turnout while standing by his seat at the council table. And his remarks were delivered in the clear, concise terms that are becoming a trademark of his tenure as city manager.
He continued, "To overcome the threats to our citizens we need to make police more in touch with the citizens. We are going to have a real dialogue to meet these concerns as a city." Walker also said the meetings in selected neighborhoods of the city will be announced shortly.
Walker then addressed an economic development program that is being prepared to help bring jobs into the city. "When I drove around the city I saw we needed to have jobs. We need them to combat blight. Without jobs you are going to have blight."
Walker tied the importance of having economic development in the city, tied to a jobs plan. "We need economic development and we need jobs. We have a six-part program, I will reveal at a later date. It involves training our people so they will have jobs. Another aspect of economic development is to bring in new business that will hire people."
Walker also noted the people "might not have the best job history. But they need the opportunity." New business could provide the opportunity, Walker told the audience. "It would then be up to individuals to take advantage of that opportunity."
"I know how to go out and get jobs. You just need to get creative," Walker smiled in replying to a remark at the council table.
Also in his city manager's report, Walker announced that Ash Park pool is slated to open Thursday, July 13. Walker said the pool was late in opening because, "We started late." Due to the city's budget crisis, necessary funding had to be obtained. Walker added that due to the late start, presented the city with another problem.
"I had no idea that lifeguards were so hard to come by," Walker said.
As more lifeguards can be found the pool hours could be extended later in the day and hopefully remain open through Labor Day. "The city is paying up to $16 per hour. We are doing our best to find qualified lifeguards. They need to be trained and be certified," Walker said.
In response to a question, Renee Fairconeture, Director of Community, Arts and Recreation, said, "We reached out to the school district but they didn't express any interest."
Walker told the resident, "Our late start was our biggest issue and our biggest problem. Plus, lifeguards must be 18-years-old."
Council member Kurt Schenk in his closing remarks said to the other members, "I am
more than pleased with Mr. Walker's performance. I'm excited about our city with him as our city manager."
In other council business Monday night, Coatesville Police Sgt. Martin M. Brice was presented with a proclamation from council in recognition of his rescue of a 73-year-old driver caught in the flood waters under the Olive Street bridge.
Sgt. Brice was responding to an assist call by Caln Township Police. He reportedly found the driver of a submerged minivan trapped inside the vehicle and after numerous tries was able to free the driver and save his life. Council president Kareem Johnson presented the proclamation to the 17-year veteran of the police department.
A Citizen/Humanitarian Award was also read and presented to four people who aided a Coatesville youngster after she was struck by a truck. The four cited gave CPR at the accident scene to Imon Thompson, 8, until emergency services arrived.
Makeeba Talton, Imon Thompson's mother, told council, "I would like to express my infinite thanks to the individuals who provided acts of care for my daughter." Thompson, her one arm in a sling, was also present at the meeting with her mother.
In his good of the city remarks, Johnson told the audience "It was a real blessing to have the girl here who was in a coma after the accident. They (the individuals providing CPR) jumped in and helped save her until special services arrived. If we work together we can accomplish great things. And thanks also to Sgt Brice for stepping up and saving a life."
Johnson continued, "Thank you everybody for showing up. It shows your concern and shows we can move forward as a city."
Johnson concluded his remarks by introducing Paige Thomas as was hired to assist Walker.
Also recognized at Monday night's meeting were the city participants in the state Golden Gloves competition held July 8 and 9 in Allentown. Four of the Coatesville participants captured state boxing titles. Under the guidance of Coach George Grove, the team is also sponsored by the city PAL program. And one of the state champions, Martinez Mobley, is now eligible to move on to the regional and possibly national competition.
"Congratulations on you winning the State Championship and acting as role models for our youth," Johnson told the titlists.
Jeri Allen told council "We hear a lot about our kids. These guys set fine examples and bring positive values to our city."