Problems continue at El Tropical Lounge
by Chuck Hoven

(Plain Press, July 2007) Two months after an April 18th neighborhood meeting involving residents and the El Tropical Lounge Manager Carmello Colon, Jr., residents in the area around W. 44th and Storer Avenue say conditions are not improving. They report that noise, violence and gunfire from nightclub patrons is resulting in both residents and businesses leaving the neighborhood.

About 20 residents of the area near El Tropical Lounge, 3382 W. 44th, gathered with staff from the Stockyard Redevelopment Organization, Second District Police officers and City of Cleveland Community Relations Department for the follow-up meeting on June 19th at Christ Lutheran Church on W. 43rd and Robert Ave.

Stockyard Redevelopment Organization organizer Megan Meister asked residents how things have been since the April neighborhood meeting. A resident living directly across Storer Avenue from El Tropical said the first weekend after the meeting he observed El Tropical’s security guard making an effort to keep things quiet and thanked him for his efforts. However, each weekend after that the situation got progressively worse.

At about 1:50 a.m. on Saturday June 9th the resident reported that while he and guests were sitting on his front porch a fight spilled out from El Tropical involving five men. The resident reported that five shots were fired at one of the men, right in the front lawn of his house.

In a letter presented at the meeting, a former resident said he left the neighborhood after numerous incidents outside his home on W. 44th across the street from the bar. The incidents included a gunfight in which four shots were fired in the direction of his house, leaving two bullets wedged in his house.

A resident from the area around W. 46th and Storer reported beer bottles being thrown from speeding cars that he attributed to patrons of the bar.

A promise by El Tropical Manager Colon, Jr. (that there would be no more alcohol sold to carry out from the bar) has been broken a resident said,  “People walk out of there with 12 packs every day.”

“We are prisoners in our own homes”, said one resident. Another woman recalled being able to play with her children outside when she moved to the neighborhood in 1993. She said she now avoids even sitting out on her porch.

An area resident estimated 50-100 people outside the nightclubs on Storer Avenue on weekend nights taking smoking breaks. Neighbors of El Tropical report several hundred people streaming out of the nightclub into the neighborhood between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. on weekend nights when the club features a D.J.

After describing the conditions created in the neighborhood by the activities of the nightclub, residents demanded that El Tropical be closed.

Stockyard Redevelopment Organization Executive Director Al Brazynetz outlined four options residents could pursue.

The options were:
- Challenge the renewal of the liquor license in the fall of 2007
- Pursue enforcement of Building and Housing, Health and Fire Code violations
- File nuisance abatement action in Common Pleas Court, and
- Dry up the precinct.

Residents and organizers discussed the options and formed strategies to pursue an objective of closing El Tropical Lounge.


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