Paradox reopens, raising tensions Neighbors, businesses want the nightclub closed permanently

March 16, 1997|By Cheryl L. Tan | Cheryl L. Tan,SUN STAFF

A popular nightclub in the Carroll/Camden industrial park area reopened its doors last week to renewed tensions with neighborhood residents and businesses determined to close it permanently.

The Paradox Club, in the 1300 block of Russell St. in South Baltimore, was shut down early last month for building and fire code violations during a raid in which drugs such as heroin and cocaine were found. It was allowed to reopen March 7 after the violations were corrected.

The club has been a hot topic in the neighborhood since it opened six years ago -- and not just because of the loud hip-hop and techno music that attracts hundreds of partygoers on weekends.

"Our problem is the overflow of crowds," said Arnold Sherman, a board member of the Carroll/Camden Industrial Park Association. "They come out into the street in large numbers, mill around, share drugs, take over the parking lots, they break into buildings, there's vandalizing, there's graffiti.

"We recognize the needs of kids to have a place to dance and express their generational idiosyncrasies, but when it's uncontrolled and illegal behavior and it drives businesses out, the area cannot afford that kind of loss."

To avoid businesses leaving the neighborhood, the association has been campaigning to have the zoning board close the club. The problem is apparently big enough that the Maryland Stadium Authority is considering weighing in as well.

Alice Hoffman, project manager of the Ravens' new football stadium, which is near the club, said the stadium site has 24-hour security guards while it is under construction. But she is concerned that problems might surface after the stadium is built.

"When we do shift work late at night, we have seen a lot of drunken kids and heard a lot of shouting and gunshots and stuff like that coming from that direction," Hoffman said. "The club right there does draw a lot of bad elements. It's an ongoing problem that I don't see going away."

Resolution sought

The club's owner, Wayne Davis, said he was is well aware of these complaints and has tried his best to address the concerns.

"We've attempted to create a working relationship with the businesses and the community, sent letters to all area businesses addressing concerns they have had with us, but we never got any responses," Davis said. "We even go out and clean up a two-block radius around our club after we close."

Davis said he is organizing an open house for neighborhood residents and business owners at the club to discuss their concerns and hopes to work something out.

"I built this club through hard work, and it wasn't an easy thing," he said. "I don't see why they feel like they can just close this business and not affect anybody's lives. I mean, this is my livelihood. If there is a problem that they have with us, address us and allow us to correct it. If we ignore it, then they have reasons to address the city."

Pub Date: 3/16/97

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