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New bar opposed by neighbors

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August 20, 2003

Albany - A new bar is moving into the location of a bar shut down by Albany city leaders. Dennis Stevenson is trying to open a night club where Topp's Corner used to be on South Madison.

But neighbors want to make sure the new business doesn't bring back crime to the area.

Topp's Corner Bar shut down in January, after city commissioners revoked the owner's alcohol license. Now, Dennis Stevenson wants to open his own night club in the abandoned building. "I want to give people a place to listen to music, dance, and enjoy a beer," said Stevenson.

But, some of his new neighbors don't want another bar. Tuesday, a handful asked commissioners not to give Stevenson an alcohol license. But Wednesday, they wouldn't talk on camera because they're too afraid.

Topp's Corner was a haven for crime. Albany police responded to 437 calls at the club last year, including shootings, aggravated assaults, and open container violations. But, Stevenson says he'll run a tighter, and safer, ship. "I plan to have security guards and cameras. I'm fencing up the yard behind the bar to stop people from loitering back there," said Stevenson.

Albany Police is satisfied with Stevenson's security plans, and commissioners will likely approve his beverage license. "I will work with my neighbors. I want them to fell safe and happy."

Some people are glad to see a new night club moving to the neighborhood. "We need a place to go and have a good time," said Rosa Jones. But behind closed doors, many others are afraid the new bar will bring back old problems.

City commissioners will vote on Stevenson's alcohol license next Tuesday.

Posted at 4:45PM by kathryn.murchison@walb.com