President of Hilltop group calls for unity

STEUBENVILLE – The new president of the Hilltop Community Development Corp. is urging residents across the city to join LaBelle and Pleasant Heights residents in order to bring peace to the hilltop neighborhoods.

The first step will come tonight when LaBelle neighborhood residents will meet privately to discuss what their hilltop area has to offer in light of recent shootings.

According to Laura Sirilla, president of the Hilltop Community Development Corp. and a Belleview Boulevard homeowner, “There are positive things we can do to make our neighborhood better.

“We need to make sure everyone knows the laws, and we need to talk about how we can better work together. This will be the first of several conversations we will be having in the next couple of weeks. We want to try and help city officials and the police department, and we want to make sure the laws and city regulations are enforced,” Sirilla said Monday afternoon.

“Our hilltop group knows residents on LaBelle and Pleasant Heights can be a great resource, and we want to work together with the city. It’s time to look at what our neighborhood can be when we all work toward restoring our community pride,” Sirilla said.

“I want to get to know more of my neighbors, and I want them to know us. If a neighbor needs help, I want them to know they can call someone here in the neighborhood. I will encourage everyone who lives on our two hilltop neighborhoods to attend our organization’s May 20 meeting at 7 p.m. at Trinity Medical Center East to come together. We need to discuss ideas about bringing our neighborhoods together,” urged Sirilla.

“If we don’t take the time to be healthy this spring and summer then we will have to take time to deal with the illness facing our hilltops. It is now time to focus on our neighborhoods and do the work to make them healthy again. These aren’t areas that we should give up on,” Sirilla continued.

“We live in a great location in the city, and everyone in the city should care about LaBelle and Pleasant Heights. We are part of this city. And what happens on the hilltops also affects businesses in the city. We have resources in our neighborhoods, and we are willing to help. We believe our neighborhoods are for everyone,” Sirilla said.

“Had the people involved in the recent shootings been at the shopping plaza or the mall it could have been much worse. The violence in our neighborhoods is everyone’s problem. That’s why I am inviting everyone who wants to do something positive to stop the violence to attend our May meeting. I am also encouraging business owners to join us. The CDC is here to help. We have good neighborhoods we don’t want to lose. And we have good people living in our neighborhoods. It’s time we work together to bring peace to our neighborhoods,” Sirilla said.

Another project the Hilltop CDC will tackle is an Arbor Day Tree Planting set for Friday.

Sirilla said the Steubenville Lions Club donated funds to support the program.

Hilltop residents interested in obtaining free saplings can contact Sirilla at (740) 282-4813.