A Grand Valley nightclub with a bad wrap for criminal activity will most likely get its liquor license renewed. But county officials say things will have to change if Rum Bay wants to keep its liquor license for much longer.
"We were having very large crowds at night," said Bill Logsdon, owner of Rum Bay. "Then they went below half of occupancy."
Logsdon says times have been tough for the club since it was reamed by county officials during a public hearing last month. As they were considering whether to renew the club's liquor license, county commissioners say heavy law enforcement activity there over the past six months gave them good reason to be concerned.
"It's not just the numbers, but it's the type of calls they're getting," said Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland. "We did see a significant increase in some of the calls to the Rum Bay facility."
According to the Mesa County Sheriff's Office, they've received 105 calls to Rum from November 2007 to May 2008. That's up from 77 during the same period a year earlier.
During a public hearing Monday morning, a sheriff's deputy said over the last six months, they've responded to 16 assaults and 15 fights, up from 8 assaults and 1 fight a year earlier.
Logsdon, who took over Rum Bay in December, says the reason those numbers are up is because the previous owners never reported crimes.
"I'd say the number of calls did increase because we did call the Sheriff's Department," said Logsdon.
He says the club is taking steps to fix those problems.
"We've doubled security and we have designated drivers," said Logsdon.
As he addressed the county commissioners Monday, Logsdon says Rum Bay is not what the Sheriff's Office has made it out to be.
"I wanted to get across that Rum Bay is a fun, safe place to come," said Logsdon. "It is a better place than it's ever been and we deserve a chance."
The Mesa County commissioners say they're willing to give Rum Bay that chance if they clean up their act. They say they intend to renew the club's liquor license, but only if certain stipulations are met.
They must work with the Sheriff's Office to keep criminal activity down, they have to update their surveillance system, they must perform criminal background checks on employees, and they must show proof that they've trained employees to serve alcohol responsibly and deal with unruly customers.
If at anytime, the commissioners learn Rum Bay is not following the rules, they can call a special hearing and revoke their license.
"I think these conditions are a happy medium and will ensure public safety at the same time giving Rum Bay a chance to run a good, top notch business," said Rowland.
The owners of Rum Bay have two weeks to review the rules before the commissioners make their final decision on the liquor license. The next hearing is scheduled for June 30.