A downtown Elgin bar owner said he had a productive meeting Friday with Elgin police regarding a chronic nuisance complaint, two days after a petition prompted him to reopen his establishment.
Marco Muscarello had closed the Gasthaus Zur Linde after receiving the complaint May 5. He was worried he'd incur fines of up to $1,000 per day if the bar got in trouble again for some reason, he said; Elgin police said that wouldn't happen as long as Muscarello agreed to meet and work on a plan of action.
The petition "to save the Gasthaus" was circulated by a patron and had more than 500 signatures, Muscarello said. The petition will be presented to city officials soon, he said.
"It hit the softness of my heart to see all these people who want this place open," he said.
The nuisance complaint listed incidents of battery, mob action and theft that took place between November and March. The Gasthaus was among several establishments that received such letters, police said.
Muscarello said Friday's was a constructive meeting.
"The meeting went good. The police seems like they want to cut down the problems," he said.
Muscarello said he agreed to several provisions, including adding two security employees on Thursday nights, the bar's busiest night. That might carry over to Fridays and Saturdays if crowds grow larger, he said.
Also, the bar will implement a "no hats, no baggy pants" dress code, and will report to police any patrons who are banned from the bar, he said.
Police want to keep a record of patrons who are banned from Elgin bars in order to be able to arrest them if they violate the ban, he said.
Elgin police said they will show up about 15 or 20 minutes after the bar's 3 a.m. closing time in order to help disperse any lingering patrons, Muscarello said.
Elgin Police Cmdr. Glenn Theriault said he would not comment on the specifics of the meeting.
"When we try to work with property owners to resolve issues at their bars, we do that directly with the property owners and we don't generally do it in a public forum like the media," he said.
"The objective of nuisance abatement is to encourage property owners to resolve their problems and we're always happy to help with that."
The Gasthaus has two allegations of liquor code violations pending before the Elgin Liquor Control Commission, which next meets June 11.
Also, Gasthaus attorneys in January filed a lawsuit arguing that the city's allegations of liquor code violations have no merit, among other things.
Both sides are due in court July 7 before Kane County Judge David Akemann.