Antioch Council moves forward on private security for city owned parking lots in Rivertown, southeast

A slide from Rivertown building owner Sean McCauley’s presentation showing the four city owned parking lots that he wants the council to focus their initial security efforts on.

By Allen D. Payton

During their meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022, the Antioch City Council voted to adopt a resolution to develop a comprehensive Downtown/Rivertown Public Parking Lots Security Plan and authorize the City Manager to issue a Request for Qualifications for a private patrol security service either on and/or near Downtown/Rivertown Area City-Owned public parking lots or other designated downtown areas. District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock included other city owned parking lots in “southeast” in her motion which passed on a 5-0 vote.

At the request of Sean McCauley, who owns several buildings in Rivertown, the owners of two restaurants in the Rivertown Dining District, Smith’s Landing Seafood Grill and Monica’s Riverview who were in attendance, as well as other merchants, the council supported the effort to improve the safety in the city’s historic downtown.

“We’re doing our part with private security in our parking lots,” McCauley said. “Code Enforcement is doing their part.”

He showed a slide with four parking lots along the city’s waterfront that he wanted the initial effort to focus on.

Some members of the public shared concerns about the limits on private security officers and their interaction with the public.

This reporter, as a Rivertown business owner, spoke in favor of the effort and said cities across the country have been doing similar things for decades for their downtowns and focus on two things: ensuring they’re clean and safe. He suggested the private security officers also serve as ombudsmen wearing jackets and shirts with the Rivertown and Rivertown Dining District logos on them, who would provide direction to shoppers handing out maps showing where the various stores and restaurants are located. He also suggested the business and property owners could form a PBID – Property and Business owners Improvement District – and assess themselves, and contract with the city and/or a private security firm.

District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker wanted the council to include efforts to ensure homeless individuals weren’t targeted. Mayor Lamar Thorpe assured her and those in the audience that the council was only issuing a request for proposal and not voting on spending any funds Tuesday night.

Ogorchock pointed out that there are other city-owned parking lots in other parts of the city before including them in her motion.

Following the vote, Antioch Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Daniel Sohn told McCauley and the restaurant owners that he would do whatever he could to support the effort.

the attachments to this post:

Rivertown security target areas map

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