Last week, a group of South Omaha residents condemned a neighborhood bar as a prime source of crime and violence in the neighborhood.
Kurt and Clyde’s, on the southwest corner of 13th and Dorcas Streets, has been the scene of four shootings since October, including two last month that injured three. Hobert Rupe, executive director of the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission, says there is an active investigation into the establishment.
Some groups say the crimes, including numerous assaults, underscore the need for the City Council to act on an ordinance proposed last summer to grant the city more control over where new liquor licenses are granted and to better combat problem establishments. The proposal has not been formally introduced to the council for public debate.
The campaign to Let Omaha Control Its Alcohol Landscape (LOCAL) is using the South Omaha pub as an example of why such measures are needed.
In February, the City Council voted to endorse a proposal in the Nebraska Legislature that would have created “alcohol impact zones” — or geographic areas deemed to be adversely affected by chronic public drunkenness or illegal activity associated with alcohol. Councilmember Chris Jerram said that proposal was an “ingenious, simplified method for addressing what many people believe constitutes an issue in Omaha, particularly in the eastern part of the city.”
But that bill went nowhere this session. LOCAL officials weren’t crazy about the idea, anyway.
So the question of what, if anything, to do remains open.
“What’s a bad bar?” said Arnie Breslow, president of the Old Market South Neighborhood Association. “It’s when you have needles in yards, fornication in yards. We have fighting and guns now at Kurt & Clyde’s.”
“We are trying to develop this area,” Breslow said of 10th, 13th and Vinton Streets. “This one bad bar could take the whole thing down.