STEUBENVILLE - The late 4th Ward Councilman David Fortunato could always be seen watering the plants at City Hall, checking their leaves and offering advice to others on the care of their office plants.
So his City Council colleagues and city administration officials thought dedicating a tree in the City Hall park on Market Street was an appropriate way to remember the four-term councilman 17 months after he died suddenly at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center.
"May 9, 2011, was a very sad day for our community. That was the day Councilman Dave Fortunato passed away. But we gather here today to remember him and to dedicate this tree in his memory," intoned Mayor Domenick Mucci during a brief ceremony prior to the City Council sunshine meeting on Tuesday.
REMEBERING DAVE FORTUNATO — Members of Steubenville Council and city administration officials joined the Fortunato family Tuesday evening to dedicate a tree in honor of the late 4th Ward Councilman David Fortunato. Taking part in the ceremony were, from left, City Engineer Michael Dolak, Councilman at large Kenny Davis, 4th Ward Councilwoman Angela Suggs, City Manager Cathy Davison, 6th Ward Councilman David Lalich, 1st Ward Councilman Gerald DiLoreto, 3rd Ward Councilman Greg Metcalf, 5th Ward Councilman Willie Paul, David Fortunato Jr., Anita Fortunato, Nicholas Fortunato, 2nd Ward Councilman Rick Perkins and Mayor Domenick Mucci. - Dave Gossett
"And appropriately enough there was a watering can in Dave's back seat that day because after his stop at the recreation center he planned on watering the new plants at the entrance to City Hall," added Mucci.
Several council members shared their thoughts and memories of Fortunato with his widow Anita, his son David and grandson Nicholas.
"I knew David for 52 years and I can remember all of the 22 houses he lived in. The house he bought may not have looked the best at first but after Dave lived there, it was beautiful. He had a lot of pride in everything he did," recalled 6th Ward Councilman David Lalich.
Council members proposed several pieces of legislation during the sunshine meeting Tuesday night, including a resolution by 3rd Ward Councilman Greg Metcalf creating a beautification committee.
The idea first was introduced by 4th Ward Councilwoman Angela Suggs as a way to encourage neighborhood pride throughout the city.
Suggs asked for each council member to submit two names of individuals to serve on a beautification committee that eventually will issue beautification and pride awards for lawns and gardens in the city.
Council also discussed a future program that could see the city donate a city-owned lot to an adjacent property owner if the residents maintains the vacant lot for a three-year period.
"Right now we don't have that many city-owned lots in the North End, LaBelle or Pleasant Heights. But we can look at buying some of the vacant lots through the auditor's sale and suggest property owners next to the lot could gain ownership if they maintain the lot for a period of time," explained Law Director S. Gary Repella.
Metcalf also proposed a resolution recognizing Paul Rue for his recent induction into the Franciscan University of Steubenville Hall of Fame.
A similar resolution recognizing the late Robert D'Anniballe Sr. for his induction into the Franciscan University of Steubenville's Hall of Fame was proposed by 2nd Ward Councilman Rick Perkins.
Lalich introduced several ordinances to authorize the transfer of money into the 2012 summer food program.
Lalich also proposed an ordinance authorizing a $8,250 payment to attorney Joe Corabi for negotiating an oil and gas lease for the city.
And Lalich introduced a resolution proclaiming October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
He also proposed an ordinance authorizing an auction of motor vehicles no longer needed by the city.
And 5th Ward Councilman Willie Paul introduced a resolution declaring October as Fire Prevention Month.