- Ed Richter Staff Writer
Middletown will have one fewer building this week as the former Bar Boca bar is undergoing demolition.
In September, Middletown City Council approved the purchase of the problematic bar at 124 Charles St., which became a nuisance in the neighborhood.
City Manager Doug Adkins told council at the time that purchasing the bar was not a tool he would recommend using often. He said purchasing and demolishing the building would prevent it from being re-used as a bar.
“This building has no good use,” he said.
Council approved spending $35,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant funds to alleviate the nuisance.
Police officials said the decision to purchase the property was “huge” because it eliminated the problem permanently.
Officials said the city will save thousands of dollars in the long run. Residents in the neighborhood also signed petitions to get rid of the bar because of all the problems that occurred there.
While the police online offense reporting system indicated 15 offense reports since November 2016, police said there were 80 calls for service from December 2016 through July 31, 2017. Police said that since 2008, there had been 230 calls for service to that bar under different owners.
City officials said the costs to send police officers there for calls for service or to investigate a crime took away resources from the rest of the city. Depending on the type of call, it could require multiple officers to respond. Officials said if there is an injury and medics are called, that only increases the costs in terms of personnel, vehicle and other costs.
Police said its difficult and costly for the city to build a solid nuisance case to close a bar because it takes a significant amount of time. The courts need an overwhelming amount of evidence before a judge will take away a person’s livelihood, they said.
The closing of Bar Boca marked the second time a bar in that location was shut down by the city. Miller’s Lounge closed in 2014 after repeated nuisance violations, police said.