Phoenix Hill Tavern Responds to Neighborhood Concerns

On Wednesday, November 14, 2012, the Irish Hill Neighborhood Association (IHNA) held its November Neighborhood Meeting a week early to help facilitate a discussion between residents of Irish Hill and the owners/management of Phoenix Hill Tavern (PHT).  The meeting was held at Gilda’s Club Louisville

Starting in early October of this year, several comments were made on social media about criminal activity that people believed was stemming from patrons of PHT. Ben Rogers and the management of PHT quickly suggested a meeting to address these concerns and IHNA agreed.

Rogers spoke to three areas: Inside the Club, Outside the Club and Ideas for the Future.

Inside the Club (be it Wednesday night or other special event nights):

  • Off-duty Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) officers stationed throughout the building. There are currently 4 officers. PHT is increasing to 6 officers. Pat downs and metal detector wands are used on all patrons.
  • ID scanners are used at the front and back door. Each scanner is updated regularly with patrons who are on the “ban list.” Patrons are put on the ban list for a variety of infractions, both criminal and simple misconduct, and are given written notice of their status.
  • There is a cover charge, varying depending on day of the week and time of the evening. “Pass” to go in and out is no longer allowed. Patrons who leave are required to pay again to return, which discourages “in and out” activity.
  • There are 30-35 cameras throughout the facility.
  • There are cameras that record patrons entering the Club. These DVDs are kept on file.
  • DJs are trained with a “last call” speech, which encourages patrons to be good neighbors, not to litter or make loud noises on the way home.
  • Signs are posted at the doors encouraging good behavior.

Outside the Club:

  • A patrol car rides through “the yellow zone,” a 3-block radius around the club, which includes Rogers St., Payne St., and Rubel Ave.
  • Owners, management and staff pick up litter.
  • PHT has repaired damage to property when it has been brought to their attention.

Before Rogers spoke to the Ideas for the Future, one of the off-duty LMPD Officers explained their role at the Club, and then the 5th District LMPD District Recourse Officer (DRO) spoke about LMDP’s presence.

Police Officers:

  • 2 officers at the front door
  • 2 officers at the back door
  • 1 or 2 marked patrol cars, with 2 officers each.
  • The goal of the on-property officers is to get patrons out of the club at closing time.
  • Car patrols continue until the parking lot is mostly empty at closing time.

LMPD’s Presence:

  • The 5th District is broken into 5 different “beats.”
  • There are 2-4 Officers on patrol around each beat.
  • In addition, there are 4 “Flex Officers” in unmarked cruisers patrolling the area, specifically parking lots.
  • Crime reports were reviewed – Crime is statistically down, though it does tend to spike in the winter months.

Ideas for the future:

These ideas were presented as starting points for discussion and are not to be taken as “this is going to happen” at this time.

  • Blocking Rogers St. on both sides of Baxter Ave. to thru traffic during late night hours. Residents would be allowed to come and go, but parking and walking to the Club would be prohibited.
  • Finding more off-street parking, perhaps by working on another phase of a pre-approved master plan that razes a house on the Club’s property and making an additional lot.
  • Work with local government officials and other business owners to build a parking garage. (Other cities with similar “entertainment district” have successfully done this.)
  • Ask LMPD to focus on-duty patrols closer to PHT, especially at closing time.
  • Forward issues to PHT as soon as they come up.

A number of residents from Rogers St. were in attendance. Throughout the night, they presented their concerns and provided examples of being awakened in the middle of the night, of vandalized property and other commotion. Ideas that residents suggested included foot patrols, bringing the Mounted Police back, and leaving porch lights on during the overnight hours.

The meeting was brought to a close after some additional discussions because the building was closing for the night.