Punta Gorda considers installing concrete barriers to protect crowds

One of the safest cities in Southwest Florida is considering concrete measures to stop traffic-related tragedies.

Last year in Times Square in New York City, a driver plowed through dozens of bystanders, injuring many happened right in downtown in the middle of a busy event.

One man who saw it all happen says we need to step up security here to protect lives.

“He went up into the parking ramp and smashed into the wall. I was up there, about the fourth person up there, and I could see that he was deceased,” said retired EMT Alan Green.

Green ran up to help as soon as he saw the car hit the wall.

“The next day that’s when I thought about writing a letter,” he said.

A letter to the chief of police because he believes more lives could have been lost.

“He would have probably turned his wheel left or something like that he would have went right into the street where everybody was dancing, the band was, and people were sitting down,” Green said.

Now, Punta Gorda City Council is going to discuss safety measures and the cost Wednesday morning.

“Because of that the person requested city council consider putting up safety measures, safety barriers, for all downtown events,” said Howard Kunik, Punta Gorda’s city manager.

One of the concrete barrier options would cost hundreds of dollars per piece, or about $15,000 for 50 of them.

Bigger cities targeted by terrorists have recently installed the barriers.

Kevin Missbath is not sure if it is worth the cost or the hassle in Punta Gorda.

“Are we creating more of an issue where it gets to the point that we’re not going to have events because we’re going to spend more time bringing in the cement barriers, instead of a one day set up, you’re now a two day set up,” he said.

But Green says if it saves one life, it’s worth it.

“You know it could have been a couple hundred people. You know instead of zero there could have been five, there could have been a hundred,” he said.

Kunik also said they will discuss if event organizers want to take care of some of the safety measures themselves.

Reporter:Morgan Rynor
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