El Tropical Lounge manager says no illegal activity in bar
by Chuck Hoven
(Plain Press May 2007) Carmello Colón, Jr., the manager of the El Tropical Lounge at W. 44th and Storer Avenue, wants people to know he runs a good bar. In an article in the April issue of the Plain Press, “Residents want relief from troublesome bar”, Rowena Ventura, a Storer Avenue resident, complained about noise from the bar which keeps her up on Friday and Saturday nights. She also said problems at the bar include drugs, prostitution and shootings.
Colón, Jr. objects to that portrayal of El Tropical Lounge. “Nothing illegal is happening inside the bar. What is happening in the street, I have no control over. That is a public place. To my knowledge she has never been inside the bar. Neither has her husband Reno.”
Colón, Jr. says he has had good relations with the neighborhood and asks his patrons to be respectful when leaving the bar at night. “I tell people before we finish, “Go quietly home”. We always tell them. You cannot follow everybody home.” He says the bar also cuts people off who appear to have had too much to drink.
El Tropical Lounge has a DJ on Friday and Saturday nights, says Colón. He believes the double doors on the building contain keep most of the noise inside. He says his other neighbors have not complained about the noise. He says one house is only 10 feet from the building and he has received no complaints. The parking lot for the facility can fit about 50 cars. He says occupancy for the nightclub is about 140 people, more if you include the restaurant portion of the facility. Colón says his family purchased the building at W. 44th and Storer in 1996, but to his knowledge the place has always been a nightclub at least for the past 37 years.
Colón says Ventura’s comments about Second District Police working at the bar are also off base. “What she is saying is old. I don’t have Cleveland police for three years.” Colón says the nightclub used to hire Cleveland Police Department officers, but now uses less costly private security guards.
On April 18th residents of the neighborhood and supporters of the El Tropical Lounge participated in a public meeting at a local church hall, Christ Lutheran Church at W. 43 and Robert to address concerns about the nightclub and other issues in the neighborhood. The meeting, held at Christ Lutheran Church at W.43 and Robert, was attended by fifty people – residents, bar patrons and supporters and police.
Al Brazynetz, Executive Director of the Stockyard Redevelopment Organization, which helped to coordinate the meeting for Ward 14 Councilman Joe Santiago’s office, says residents have a number of steps they want to take to help address problems along the Storer Avenue corridor.
“What is significant about Storer Avenue,” Brazynetz said, “is that if anything happens between 6pm Friday night and 6 a.m. Sunday morning bars always get blamed, whether or not bar patrons are involved. Even on side streets this includes things like blaring music from car windows. Most are quality of life issues. Real concerns about drug activity and prostitution were also brought up at the meeting.” Brazynetz said most of the issues raised were general concerns, but some were site specific, such as the nightclub’s parking lot.
Megan Meister, community organizer for the Stockyard Redevelopment Organization, says residents at the meeting identified a number of safety issues they were concerned about (such as traffic, drug activity, trash and debris and loud cars), and agreed to help work on solutions to these and other problems brought up at the meeting. Meister said another meeting will be scheduled in late May or early June to work on common goals for some of the these quality of life issues. For more information about the meeting call Megan Meister at 961-7687 x 202.
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