PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A Peoria pastor is appealing to the city council asking to temporarily close Dream Night Club on Southwest Washington Street to examine management procedures.
The owner is speaking out saying the matter seems like a targeted attack to her.
Pastor Harvey Burnett, of New Bethel Church of God in Christ, sent his letter to the mayor and council members on Wednesday. However, Mailika Bracey, owner of Dream Night Club, said she only found out about the letter when WMBD contacted her for comment Friday morning.
“It’s really, really, really heartbreaking to me,” Bracey said. “I’m just tired of me being the scapegoat for everything that happens past 10 p.m.”
Burnett said the area around the nightclub has been a hot spot for violence over the years, particularly for shootings. He said the environment has a negative impact on the community’s youth.
“I think it’s in our best interest to really kind of take a look and examine what’s going on at the location,” Burnett said. “It has been problematic over the years.”
Burnett said the current breaking point was the death of four young girls, last month, who gathered at the club before a street racing crash took their lives.
Bracey said the girls were never inside the club but were briefly in the parking lot. Burnett said the death of those girls should inspire policy changes.
“What procedures do they have when they’ve identified a young crowd or a young group that is there without parents at 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning,” Burnett asked.
Bracey said the death of the four girls was a tragedy but believes it’s hypocritical to only target her club.
“At the end of the day violence and drama happens all over the city,” Bracey said. “Underaged people are trolling our parking lots. We are calling the police and telling them. We are turning down 10-15 kids a night. Police are there issuing tickets.”
Burnett said there should be more enforcement of the club’s parking lot, while Bracey said more effort should be used for addressing the violence in the city as a whole.
“In your parking lot you have customers who park there, you have a duty to your customers if nothing else,” Burnett said.
Bracey said she wishes Burnett would have simply contacted her personally with his concerns before going to the city.
Burnett said he doesn’t want to see the club permanently closed and he intends to bring the issue before the city council at its next meeting.
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