STURTEVANT — Despite problems with drinking, fighting and parking at the Sturtevant Sportsplex, representatives have reached an written agreement with the village to continue selling alcohol at their venue.
That agreement, approved by the Sturtevant Village Board on Tuesday, spells out a number of stipulations that must be met at the Sportsplex in order for the facility to keep its alcohol licenses and includes a two-week suspension beginning July 1.
Village and police officials met with Sportsplex owner Fernando Bahena in March in an attempt to curb troubles at the venue, 10116 Stellar Ave.
The meeting was called because the Sportsplex, 10116 Stellar Ave., had been drawing crowds of 1,500 to 2,000 people with bands and dances on weekend nights and pay-per-view sports telecasts. Alcohol is served at those events, and there have been fights and arrests for battery and disorderly conduct, including a March 2 arrest for battery of a police officer and resisting arrest.
Sturtevant Police Chief Sean Marschke said the Sportsplex has been selling people as much as a case of beer at a time to take it back to their table.
Another problem, village officials say, has been the use of other businesses’ parking lots, with trash left behind. South Shore Fire Department officials have been concerned with crowd sizes that exceed fire codes.
That March meeting had produced some plans by Sportsplex representatives to head off future problems, and they were working on plans to provide more parking.
But a June 8-9 nighttime event there — in a part of the venue used as a nightclub and called Three Monkeys — brought those plans crashing down and led the Village to move to pull the venue’s liquor licenses with a due-process hearing. According to the flier for the rap-music event, titled Summer Tip Off Bash, it was presented by the Butler Marketing Group and gave top billing to Pinkie XXX Plies and Pleasure P.
Racine native and Los Angeles Clippers star Caron Butler is shown on the flier as a special invited guest. Marschke said Butler left well before the trouble began.
Neither Butler nor Butler Marketing Group could be reached for comment late Tuesday.
The main trouble that night started at closing time, Marschke said Tuesday. Although the Sportsplex had 22 security personnel on hand that night, they couldn’t handle the intoxicated crowd.
“It was just a big, big mess,” he said, including altercations with security.
Sturtevant police were called to help, Marschke continued, and in turn called both Mount Pleasant police and Racine County Sheriff’s deputies for back-up for a total of more than 12 law enforcement officers. The scene wasn’t cleared until after 3:30 a.m., he added.
In addition to the March 2 and June 9 incidents, the agreement listed 19 additional incidents that required a significant law enforcement response to the Sportsplex since the previous alcohol licenses year began last July.
The agreement limits the amount of alcohol that can be sold and requires that patrons leave by 3 a.m. During special events, the Sportsplex is required to procure sufficient parking and provide at least three security personnel per 100 attendees, with alcohol sales ending before 1 a.m. at those events. Trash must be picked up by 8 the following morning.
Sportsplex management also agreed to a suspension of its alcohol licenses for two weeks beginning July 1, excluding previously contracted events on July 6 and July 13. It will also pay $3,000 to the village to defray attorney fees and costs related to the matter.
The Village Board voted unanimously Tuesday to enter into the agreement that allows for the village to suspend or revoke the venue’s alcohol licenses if the terms are violated.
After the vote, Village President Steve Jansen called the agreement “a proactive move on our part to make sure that, in the event that anything in the future does transpire, that we’ve got all our ducks in a row.”