A pair of shooting incidents has brought to a head months of unhappiness with the operation of a few clubs along Washington Avenue. Some neighbors, particularly those closest to the venues, have complained about the unruly and occasionally violent behavior of people drawn to the clubs, particularly after closing time. Other voiced complaints have involved noise, trash, drugs, underage drinking, and curfew violations.
A vibrant entertainment district like Washington Avenue is never going to be as peaceful as Ballwin. So, there have to be some accommodations by residents to the visitors. At the same time, loft district club managers and other business owners cannot operate as if they had no neighbors. The goals should be "some fun" and "enough tolerance."
Over the next several weeks, neighbors, businesses, City officials, editorial writers, and the Police Department will be considering the current situation, and any changes in law, policy, or practice that will preserve the entertainment part of the neighborhood, while discouraging dangerous behaviors.
I don't want to end without mentioning the red herrings offered by one of the club owners that the neighbors' underlying concern is race or a musical style. There are dozens of bars and clubs in the City, playing all styles of music and attracting all sorts of crowds. Yet, they manage to operate with only the occasional bump and scrape with their neighbors. This is about crime, not race and not music.