Local News

Durham Prepares to Shut Down Neighborhood Nuisance

Posted July 26, 1999

— The city of Durham is ready to do battle with a nightclub that some residents call a neighborhood nuisance.

The 14 Karat Gold club is no stranger to police. In the past year, they have responded to a countless number of disturbance calls.

People who live in the neighborhood on Durham's east side say the club is ruining their quality of life. At the same time, Durham leaders are gathering the evidence they need to take the club's owner to court.

The problem is not the drinking and ladies dancing inside 14 Karat Gold.

"It's a real uneasy feeling on Friday and Saturday nights," says resident Minnie Smith. "You don't know what's going to happen next. You wake up to gun shots sometimes, and you got to hit the floor, you're scared."

Smith's husband, Leonard, says it is what takes place outside the yellow, concrete building that tarnishes the lifestyles of people in the neighborhood.

"Disgusted -- there's no other way to put it," he said.

The Smiths live a half-block away from the club, but every Saturday morning Leonard Smith has to pick up the trash in his yard.

"Beer bottles, cups, just trash -- paper towels, fast food bags and napkins, and every now and then you'll find condoms laying out in the yard," Leonard Smith said.

"This is not the first time this business has come under close scrutiny," says Floyd McKissick Jr., a member of the Durham City Council. "It creates excessive noise, loitering in the neighborhood, littering in the area, it's a very poor neighbor for this neighborhood. There's been armed robberies in front of the business."

McKissick is hoping that city attorneys are gathering enough evidence to shut down 14 Karat Gold for good.

"What I would like to see the city do at this point in time is to accumulate all the data that is necessary, in terms of calls for service, to substantiate the fact that this club has been a nuisance in this area, and to file a legal proceeding to have it declared a nuisance and closed."

"Close it down or move it to another neighborhood somewhere out away from residential areas," says Leonard Smith.

One of the city attorneys handling the case says his office will be gathering evidence during the next few weeks, then presenting that to the city council in August. Then, the council will decide what action to take.

The owner of 14 Karat Gold could not be reached for comment.

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