The bar will close the day before Thanksgiving.
By JOHN W. GOODWIN Jr.
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- The party is over at one popular nightspot with a history of serving alcohol to minors and other run-ins with law enforcement.
Ernie McDoogell's Bar, 154 W. Rayen Ave., will close permanently as of midnight Nov. 21 after losing an appeal of the decision by the Department of Commerce liquor control division not to renew the bar's liquor license.
Bill Carnie, an assistant city prosecutor, said the agreement to close permanently will eliminate the possibility of any future appeals by the bar's owners.
"We could have gone in and seized liquor and shut them down on the spot, but we gave them a two-week extension to shut down in an orderly fashion," said Carnie. "We are happy that they saw the writing on the wall, and we know this is a permanent closing. That is what the city wanted."
One-year wait: According to Carnie, no other liquor establishment can open at the McDoogell's location for at least one year. Should the owner of the establishment apply for a license elsewhere in the city, he said, city officials would fight the request on the basis of character.
Carnie said city officials initially opposed the bar's license renewal because those who operate the bar did not show interest in how the business affected the neighborhood and surrounding Youngstown State University community. He said there were complaints from law enforcement and area churches.
Violations: The bar obtained a liquor license in January 1997 and has had 12 violations of serving alcohol to minors since that time. The most recent recorded violation was Nov. 2.
According to the Ohio Department of Commerce, the bar's owners applied for a license renewal in 2000, despite an objection from Youngstown City Council. According to department of commerce papers, the request was denied because its renewal would interfere with public decency, sobriety, peace and overall good order, and the business has operated with disregard for the laws, regulations and ordinances of the state.
Appeal denied: McDoogell's appealed the decision to the liquor control commission and was again denied. The decision to refuse the business a renewed license was also upheld by the Common Pleas Court of Franklin County in a decision issued Oct. 18.
Representatives of local law enforcement agencies said the business has more than just underage drinking problems. Sgt. Mike Cretella of the YSU police said the department would be happy to see McDoogell's close.
Cretella said the business taxes YSU police staffing. He said officers would be assigned strictly to patrol the parking lots and other YSU property along Lincoln Avenue to prevent assaults, vandalism and other problems.