Controversial Five Points club reopens under new name with Poll Questions

cleblanc@thestate.comNovember 19, 2013 

The Library in early November

THE STATE — File photograph

A controversial Five Points nightclub, The Library, is legally open for business, and the city has dropped an administrative citation it issued against the bar last week.

Interim Police Chief Ruben Santiago told City Council on Tuesday that the bar owner deleted the name “The Library” from his business license.

Business license director Roger Myers said owner Justin Kerschner on Friday decided to operate under the corporate name listed on the license application – Harden Bar Group.

Santiago said in an interview that Kerschner has upgraded the club’s lighting and repainted the interior a lighter color. He said Kerschner told him last week that he intends to attract a different crowd.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott has said that an undercover investigation found that The Library had become a hangout for a gang.

Several critics, including some on council, have blamed the bar for recent outbreaks of violence in the entertainment district that abuts the University of South Carolina campus.

Santiago said he visited the bar last week at Kerschner’s invitation and saw some of the improvements. He said he didn’t know the new name of the club.

Santiago said he will not focus the city’s hospitality team on the renamed bar because he prefers to “build harmony” with Kerschner as a better long-term solution.

The citation, written because the bar, at 805 Harden St., did not have its business license posted when the team inspected last week, was dropped when a records check showed Kerschner’s license is in good standing, Santiago said.

The hospitality team reported to council that it has written four citations during the summer in Five Points for violations of the city’s ordinance that requires permits to stay open later than 2 a.m. The Library was cited once for not closing on time.

Additional lighting along the 800 block of Harden Street, where much of the violence has been concentrated, is close to being accomplished, assistant city manager Missy Gentry told City Council. LED lights are to be erected along that block, she said.

The LEDs will have pre-set timers that will brighten them later into the night, Gentry said.

If the lighting along the 800 block proves successful after a few months, the city may erect more in other parts of Five Points, she said.

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