Reporting Cleve Bryan
By Cleve Bryan
WASHINGTON Twp., N.J., (CBS) — Controversy over a new hangout for teenagers coming to a South Jersey town.
Neighbors are worried because similar concepts have been tried before — and led to problems.
The new teen hangout is opening in Washington Township, Gloucester County.
From the shell of a former county building, former State Trooper John Hogan and current State Trooper Kenny Franco are trying to create a place for Washington Township teens.
“Basically use it as a place to learn, grow and expand all the friendships that they have in school,” John Hogan, co-owner of Club Bash said.
Weekdays would be homework help and arcade time, but it’s what’s planned for the weekends that’s got people talking – Club Bash.
“We’re going to have music, we’re going to have some lights,” Hogan said.
Any sort of a teen dance club has many people in Washington Township concerned, who have a bad taste in their mouth at previous attempts to operate a teen dance club in town.
“The clientele gets a little rough after a while,” said Jason Lepore.
About six years ago, Lepore owned Club Extreme at what is now Calvary Chapel. He says he never had too many problems inside his under 21 club, but outside, even with security, it was hard to control.
“It’s hard to control that part, outside, older people, or whoever else,” Lepore said.
Like Club Extreme, Club Bash will hire security guards and pay for a uniformed police officer.
But one big difference is it will be members only for Washington Township kids. Lepore says from his experience, that might not bring in enough money to make the club last, even with the proposed $15 cover charge. Kids say it takes a crowd to make it cool.
“If all my friends went and it was like the place to be then I would go,” a Washington Township student said.
“I have two children of my own and that was one of the main reasons I came up with this idea with my partner, to give the kids a place to go that’s going to be safe,” Kenny Franco, co-owner of Club Bash said.
The club owners say they have about two months worth of renovations to before they can open and they still to have get their certificate of occupancy, so they are looking at an opening date at the soonest in December.