'Up the Banger': Phelan Asks Village Board To Reconsider Extending Brunswick's Weekend Hours
Trustee Tom Phelan wants an agreement - not a proposal - that Brunswick won't drop the ball on keeping gangbangers out of the bowling alley.
Like a dog digging up a femur in the woods, Trustee Tom Phelan isn’t going to let last summer’s gang shooting in the Brunswick Zone's parking lot go.
Brunswick has been operating under a village-mandated safety plan following a gang shooting in the bowling center’s parking lot on July 31, 2010 where two men were shot in a drive-by – one of them by off-duty cops moonlighting as security officers.
After the village board approved Brunswick’s plans to resume its late-night weekend operations earlier this month, the Dist. 6 village trustee asked his fellow board members to reconsider their vote to allow the bowling center to close at midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
“This is something I’ve been involved with since the beginning,” Phelan said during Tuesday’s board meeting. “My biggest concern is that we were waiting for a proposal or agreement that we would get in draft form and provide feedback on. I was quite unhappy to find in my packet a recommendation to approve this without that opportunity.”
Since the last village board meeting, Phelan said he has reviewed the village’s file on Brunswick that shows a pattern of violent incidents and promises to do better – including a 2006 incident when a Midlothian man tried to grab a security officer’s gun.
Brunswick claims that its Oak Lawn bowling center at 103rd Street and Cicero Avenue has lost $1 million since being forced to close at an earlier hour and giving away free games. Brunswick also said that it lost 120 league bowlers because of the shortened hours.
Phelan said he called 17 bowling centers in a 20-mile radius asking if any league bowlers from Brunswick in Oak Lawn moved their leagues to their facilities. Only one of those bowling centers got a women’s league that used to bowl at Brunswick.
“I asked [village manager] Larry Deetjen to get the names of the leagues from Brunswick so we can find out where they are and go talk to them to find out if they left because of the early closing,” Phelan said.
Phelan encouraged the village board to again read the police report from July 31, 2010, which he said read like a script from the HBO show The Wire.
“The shooter and victim were admitted hardcore gangbangers …,” he said. “When you read the ‘up the banger’ comment where it came time to throw down – get your guns and let’s start shooting -- I don’t know how abody could sit and here and say it’s a good idea."
Presenting a "detailed timeline" and "statistical analysis" to other village board members, Phelan asked that they reconsider thier vote.
“And if the vote is in favor of extending the hours that we make a more informed decision and have an agreement – not a proposal – that both parties sign,” Phelan said.
Paul Martinez, director of global operations for Brunswick, was unaware that Brunswick was back on the agenda at Tuesday’s board meeting.
Asked about the 17 bowling centers that Phelan contacted and the missing 120 league bowlers, Martinez said, “I don’t know which ones he called. I know what I was told by our general manager. She knows where [the league bowlers] went.”
“One thing we provided were detailed memos with [revenue] estimates,” Martinez added. “They don’t talk about the details or estimates we provide.”
Meanwhile, Brunswick is offering a free game of bowling to every person in America in honor of the nation's birthday, each day of the upcoming holiday weekend from July 1-July 4. No coupon is necessary.