Neighbors, owners debate future of troubled Erie bar
ERIE, Pa. - It's called the 901 Sports Bar & Grill. But neighbors call it a nuisance bar, and they want something done about it.
“We're unable to get any rest of sleep at night because of loud noise,” said Linda Duncan, a neighbor of the bar, which is located at 901 W. 4th St., Erie.
The stigma stems from a series of shootings, one that proved fatal in 2017 and another that injured a man just last Friday. But owners of the west-side bar made it clear: they are beefing up security to prevent future violence.
“We've purchased a metal detector, we've also purchased a camera system that holds 32 cameras,” said Veno Riz, a co-owner of the bar.
Despite that, members of the Nuisance Bar Task Force – comprised of the Erie Police Department, Pennsylvania State Police, the Pa. Liquor Control Board and other agencies -- say they have received only a handful of formal complaints about the bar, making it tough to pinpoint the source of the violence.
Organizers gave neighbors an envelope containing basic things, such as contact information for the Nuisance Bar Task Force, to help report violence or other trouble.
“They need to give the specific information, the address to that establishment, the name of that establishment,” said Lt. William Marucci, a task force member from the Erie Police Dept. “Not just the 300 block of Plum, the 400 block of Plum.”
Police say it will take cooperation from both local residents and the owners of the bar to end this problem. They say the goal is keep the bar open.
"I think, unless they change their way completely, that's what has to happen,” said Tom Hoffman, who leads the Bay Harbor Neighborhood Association, the group that hosted the meeting.
Owners of the 901 say they want to be a part of the community, even if area residents don't want the bar to be.
“I think we can come to a meeting of the minds and work something out together,” Riz said.
“I understand that this is an establishment and a business,” Duncan said, “but it's also a neighborhood.”
Who to contact?
To report a nuisance bar or recurring issues such as violence or loud noise from a bar, you can call the Erie Police Department's non-emergency line at 814-870-1125. Or, you can click here to fill out a voluntary witness statement form.