By Larry Yellen, fox32chicago.com
A popular South Side nightclub is just the latest of many to close its doors due to a fatal shooting.
The 50 Yard Line Sports Bar and Grill on Chicago’s South Side displays signs warning against loitering and wearing white tee shirts and gym shoes. But this week, there’s a new sign. It has messages in memory of Andrew “Dru” Love, who was shot and killed inside the bar five days ago.
Allen didn’t know the 29-year-old victim, but she knows the Grand Crossing neighborhood.
“No, that’s why a lot of people my age stopped going to the lounges. Cause the crowd changed up,” Allen said.
The club’s owners have now voluntarily closed their doors, even before the city could use it’s new “Summary Closure” law. Eleven other nightclubs have been shut down by police since last June using that law. It replaces a system that allowed troublesome clubs to stay open for months or years during lengthy hearings and appeals.
“Somebody can get killed on the dance floor, or on the sidewalk in front, and to make that connection or that nexus to the establishment has been very difficult for us for many years,” said Alderman Scott Waguespack.
Under the new law, the city can immediately shut down nightclub with persistent violence for up to six months, or until the club has a safety plan which satisfies police. The law’s been used to shut down the the Koncrete Club in Bucktown, where a woman was shot and killed in December, and the Shrine on South Wabash, where two people were shot and wounded in February.
Another shooting took two lives at the Dolphin Club a year ago in March, which led Alderman Waguespack to demand a crackdown. Back at the Fifty Yard Line, one resident told FOX 32 that violence in nightclub is just a symptom, not the real problem.
“We don’t have jobs out here, that’s a lot of time why people come to these places to drink. Cause they stressin,” said resident Will.
The alderman says Summary Closures are a good start, but he’s concerned that some clubs seem to get their act together for just a short period of time and then the problems surface again.
And just a reminder, the ‘summary closure’ ordinance applies only in Chicago. It doesn’t apply to those nightclubs in the suburbs where violence may be a constant problem.