Jeffon Neal, Chairman of the North Richmond H.O.P.E. Council and President of the Brookland Park Area Association, conducted a special H.O.P.E. Council meeting on Friday night to discuss recent issues surrounding the Cultural Diversity Center (CDC), an event/nightclub on North Avenue. Freddie Robinson, manager of the CDC, Treasurer of the H.O.P.E. Council and […]
Jeffon Neal, Chairman of the North Richmond H.O.P.E. Council and President of the Brookland Park Area Association, conducted a special H.O.P.E. Council meeting on Friday night to discuss recent issues surrounding the Cultural Diversity Center (CDC), an event/nightclub on North Avenue. Freddie Robinson, manager of the CDC, Treasurer of the H.O.P.E. Council and Vice-President of the Brookland Park Area Association, was in attendance.
“We are not here to discuss the validity of this business we are not here to discuss what has happened in the past, we are not here to discuss the divisiveness of race, we are not here to discuss an ABC license, we are here to discuss the kids,” said Jeffon Neal.
Mr. Neal proposed two conditions to area residents who have protested the activities at the CDC. First, he proposed that Mr. Robinson submit any future event to be subject to the approval of the North Richmond H.O.P.E. Council. Secondly, he proposed that local civic associations and area residents retract their objections to ABC licenses for banquet events at the CDC.
In response, Todd Hardy, president of the Battery Park Civic Association, stated, “The Battery Park Civic Association cannot make an official statement regarding the objection of the ABC licenses without discussion.”
When asked what controls could be placed on ABC events, Freddie Robinson responded, “I am open to closing events between 11 and 12. I am locked into the situation where I can only hold teen events because temporary ABC licenses have been protested. Teen events was never my plan for the facility. I hire five police officers outside, and six security guards inside. When the kids are kicked out, they go around the corner to shoot their guns. We handle situations inside and try to handle situations outside the building.”
Approximately twenty-five local residents showed to voice their concerns. One resident, who lives within a block of the CDC discussed concerns for her house and well-being. “When I bought my house, the building was a church, not a nightclub. I would not have bought my house if it was a nightclub,” she said. “We have found weapons left over from the events. Police were going through our yard after shots were fired next to my house. I could have been shot.”
Discussion centered on the lack of community resources and programs for youth in the North Side. Chris Hilbert offered to mediate discussions for new youth programs. He stated, “We should be part of a forum where we talk to the kids and parents. We need to know what they want, within what’s appropriate, before we commit to starting a youth program. We need to meet their needs. My office can facilitate such a meeting.”