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New owner plans to rename, reopen troubled nightclub



Published: Sat, September 25, 2004 @ 12:00 a.m.



Teen nights will begin this weekend.

By IAN HILL

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

AUSTINTOWN -- Once the township's most notorious nightclub, The Mill is under new ownership and is expected to reopen this winter with a new name.

Corey Ward, president of Core Promotions, said he agreed to lease the South Raccoon Road club last week and that he hopes to obtain a liquor license this winter. Ward said if he gets a liquor license, he will reopen the club for those 21 and older on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

Until then, Ward said he will have teen nights at the club every Sunday. The first teen night will be from 6:30-10:30 p.m. tomorrow.

The teen nights will operate under the name "Teen Scene" in conjunction with an area radio station. Ward said he has not settled on a new name for the club.

Police received 173 calls about the club between November 2001 and November 2002, including several complaints from neighbors on Laurie Drive upset about noise and fights in the club parking lot during the early morning hours.

The Mill closed in winter 2002 after township trustees asked the state not to renew the club's liquor permit, and last fall the former club operator was evicted from the plaza for not paying rent.

It is one of the largest nightclubs in the Mahoning Valley.

Doing things differently

"I'm committed to ... making the old stigma really turn around," Ward said. He noted that workers have been renovating the club to remove vestiges of The Mill, taking down signs and a mural that paid homage to the steel industry.

Ward added that he plans to talk with Laurie Drive residents about his plans and that he will work with them to address any concerns. He also stressed that he will not allow parking in the area adjacent to the back yards of some Laurie Drive homes.

Ward is no stranger to The Mill, as he has promoted wrestling and toughman events at the club in the past. In 2001, neighbors called police several times to complain about noise and cursing at a wrestling event that was promoted by Ward and held outside of the club.

Club management said Ward oversold the event. Ward said the club ran all aspects of the event and pushed to have it outdoors. Ward later broke off his relationship with the club.

'Riot conditions'

Local promoter Dominic Baragona leased The Mill this January, worked with police to increase security, and began having weekly teen nights. Police and neighbors said they appreciated his efforts, and complaints about the club dwindled.

Then, in August, three teens and a 12-year-old were arrested in the club parking lot after several fights broke out and caused what police described as "riot conditions." There were about 650-700 people in the parking lot at the time.

Baragona could not be reached for comment. Ward said he is going to continue to stress security at the club, and that he will spend about $2,000 on security for each teen night.

hill@vindy.com




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