Residents who live near a Middletown bar said they want the establishment closed permanently because of safety concerns that lower property values.
They may soon get their wish.
Middletown police and the State Investigative Unit conducted an investigation last week at Bar Boca, Police Chief Rodney Muterspaw told the Journal-News. He said the agencies found six liquor violations, including drug use that led to one arrest, at the downtown bar located at 124 Charles St.
The bar owners, who live in Hamilton, were also cited for unsanitary conditions, he said.
Police have received complaints about the bar from residents and midnight patrol officers, the chief said.
“We’re working on getting it shut down,” Muterspaw said. “We don’t want it open. The community doesn’t want it open. It’s not fair to the residents who live there. It’s a bad place in that neighborhood. I know that sounds harsh, but I’m tired of being nice to people who don’t care about the city.”
After further investigation this week, Muterspaw said he anticipates additional violations with other agencies.
The owners of Bar Boca could not be reached for comment.
If Bar Boca is closed, it would be 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.
The Ohio Liquor Control Commission upheld a decision by the Division of Liquor Control Commission that rejected the liquor renewal application from Miller’s Lounge.
About 65 residents and business owners in the area have signed a petition asking the city to close Bar Boca. The petition was started by Ronnie Perkins.
Perkins, who lives on Charles Street, said he wants Bar Boca closed permanently. He has installed surveillance cameras that point toward the bar, he said.
After Bar Boca opened last fall, there was a shooting outside the bar 10 days later, Perkins said.
He said Bar Boca patrons gather outside the bar, attract prostitutes and commit violent crimes.
One female neighbor, who wanted to remain anonymous because she fears for her safety, said after the shooting at the bar, she asked Perkins to install 2-by-4 wooden braces on her front and back doors.
Before she mows the back yard, she racks up used needles and discharged empty liquor bottles that she believes are tossed there by bar patrons, she said.
“It’s just horrible over there,” said the woman who used to sit on her porch every night until Bar Boca opened.
Another woman who lives near the bar called it “a war zone” because of the violence and illegal activity.
“I’m petrified,” said the woman, who also asked to remain anonymous because she fears for her safety.