Bar owners, residents at ease following nightclub closing

Updated: 12/06/2013 11:23 PM
Created: 12/06/2013 11:12 PM WHEC.com

Police will be out this weekend to make sure the doors stay closed at a downtown night club following last week's violence.

Plush Lounge on Saint Paul Street had it's license revoked by Rochester Police earlier this week. The move came after looking into a number incidents and lack of security at the club. The owner threatened to open the bar anyway through a Facebook post and Friday police are out to make sure there's no trouble.

Friday evening, it seemed pretty quiet, no police units in the area, but police say they will be patrolling throughout the weekend. Lack of security officers and the number of incidents are what police say ultimately forced them to shut down Plush Lounge.

Chief James Sheppard says from now on things will be a lot different in the Saint Paul Quarter and residents and business owners couldn't be happier.

The St Paul Street bar district is known for it's trendy bars and restaurants, but it's also known for it's dark side. Something restaurant owner Demetrio Cavatassi knows very well.

He tells News10NBC that, "Customers at the end of the night would have a great time here and there would be fight and commotion and it was intimidating."

Last week, chaos broke out twice. In one of the incidents four people were shot and another person run over. Bar owners and residents blamed the violence on one night club.

Just days ago, Rochester Police agreed to shut it down. Now Cavatassi is relieved he no longer has to worry about danger on his doorstep.

He says, "I understand everyone has a right to have a business, but when you can't control it and you're really ruining a neighborhood where people live for many years. It's high time."

The decision came with the help of Chris Woodworth and the Saint Paul Quarter Neighborhood Association.

He says, "It's been difficult getting people to listen."

The group led a relentless effort to get police and city officials to pay attention. They even spoke up for those who felt they had no voice.

"Many, many residents who had come out of the woodworks," says Woodworth. "People who are scared to speak up all were so happy and breathed a collective sigh of relief."

Now that the club is closed, residents and bar owners are hoping this is a new start for the area.

He says, "Hopefully, this one can stay closed and we can move on with building our neighborhood. Stand up for your neighborhood and your home and say we're not going to take it any longer."

Chief Sheppard told us earlier this week bar owners have complained about the excessive police presence in the past. When I asked them--do they want officers patrolling the area or not? They said they're hoping police can find a balance.

They're hoping there can be a presence, but not overbearing. We were told the owners of Plush can eventually apply for another conditional license. The neighborhood association vows to make sure that does not happen.


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