HOOVER, Ala. (WIAT) — Hoover City Councilman John Lyda said he’s ready to have a discussion with the owner of the Riverchase Galleria on how to make the mall safer and more desirable to shoppers.
Lyda said there have been three tragedies in less than two years at the Galleria, and something needs to change.
“It’s not just happening in Hoover. This is happening all across America with gun violence in senseless situations so Brookfield Properties, the owner and manager of the Galleria are the largest mall owners in America and so they have resources and certainly have creativity to be able to come to solution and city of Hoover and I, as councilman, stand ready to join them in that conversation to come up with a solution that is a win win,” Lyda said.
Business owners in the Riverchase Galleria area said the shooting that happened last Friday is sad and that crime like it drives people away from the area.
“It’s very impactful because what you got I think is a lot of uncertainty. You already had some uncertainty because obviously everything going on but I mean now it’s already July 4th weekend which a lot of people are away for because a lot of people in Alabama go to the lake, beach, so there was already a lot of people away and the few people you did have obviously are scared off from incident that happened,” said Todd Beegle, co-owner of On Tap Sports Cafe.
Beegle said when the shooting happened, Hoover police asked them to evacuate for safety measures.
“They wanted us because we’re right across from Macy’s, which I think they said was a major part they were looking so we obviously had to close that day. I think J Alexanders and all the other restaurants had to close for a little while. We closed the rest of the day so obviously we lost sales but really do you think someone is going to come out anyway?” he said.
Lyda said some ideas that have been put on the table are metal detectors and a police substation. Lyda said those are just ideas right now, but action needs to happen to save the image of Hoover and the Riverchase Galleria in order to make people feel safe.
“We’re having conversations with our teenage children about the safety of going anywhere including the Galleria and quite frankly, we have concerns. My kids won’t be going there on Thursday nights, Friday nights which are perceived to be the most dangerous parts so I have a feeling those are conversations having around many dining tables in Hoover and it’s a conversation that needs to change and Brookfield needs to come to the table to help us solve that,” he said.
Lyda said the city is ready to stand with Brookfield Properties to find a solution for everyone, but no meeting has been set yet.
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