Editorial: The battle is over; the war is yet to be won

Editorial: The battle is over; the war is yet to be won

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Shenanigans photo

Shenanigans

After four years, it appears the fight over Shenanigan’s is over.

Since 2015, the City of Davenport has tried to revoke the bar and dance club’s liquor license. It failed each time to provide sufficient evidence to meet the requirements of the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division. But the gunshot that rang out last weekend in the early hours of Sunday appears to have heralded the end.

The owner of the property, Thad DenHartog, and the owner of the bar, Burton Davison, came to an agreement to terminate the lease, according to Kyle Carter, executive director of the Downtown Davenport Partnership. On Friday afternoon, a "For Lease" sign was on the building.

It’s not clear when the place will shut down, but we’re told it won’t long before that happens. Carter said another tenant will be sought for the building.

This will be good news to some people and businesses in the area who have wanted to see this outcome for years. Shenanigan’s has been the site of scores of police calls. As Barb Ickes reported last week, there were 90 calls to the tavern between January and December, compared with just seven to Mac’s Tavern across the street, where that bullet Sunday narrowly missed hurting patrons.

The gunshot, which also apparently ricocheted off the Dorothea Apartments, justifiably brought a reaction from downtown businesses and others. Over the past several days, the city and the downtown partnership have urged people to contact the state with their views. And they have. As of Thursday, 183 complaints had been leveled.

A spokesman for the Alcoholic Beverages Division said last week that even before the complaints began pouring in, the agency launched its own investigation into the situation.

We don't know the details of the agreement that was reached, but as Carter said, "Clearly the community effort had an impact."

Our own view is that we’re happy there is some resolution to this situation. Clearly, the police have been overburdened with having to respond to incidents that all too often began in and around the club and spread. City officials said that in many of those instances, chaos ensued. Mayor Frank Klipsch said last week that since October 2018, six large fights have begun inside the club and ended up outside.

We are mindful, however, that the gunfire that rang out last weekend downtown is all too common in the city. On Thursday, at about 5 p.m., drivers on West Locust Street were frightened to see two people firing guns at each other at the corner of Washington Street. The assailants fled, but the police caught up to them. Authorities took three people into custody. It’s not clear why they were shooting at each other, but two were identified as escapees of the Mary Davis Home in Knox County.

This story is sadly all too common in the Quad-Cities. In Davenport, it was only a month ago that candidates for mayor and city council asked voters in the city to trust them with the public safety responsibilities that go with local government. For much of the campaign, they told voters that public safety was among their top priorities.

We were happy to see that most did not hew to the "lock-them-up-and-throw-away-the-key" mentality. Many said they would seek ways to divert kids away from violence.

Next month, they will take their oaths of office, and we hope their campaign rhetoric turns into real solutions that dampen the amount of violence on the street.

These elected officials apparently won’t have to deal with Shenanigan’s tavern any longer. But the problems and violence that too often erupted outside its door won’t just fade away.

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