LAWRENCE, Kan. — A local north Lawrence bar and restaurant is closing its doors until the city responds to concerns about a nearby homeless support center.
According to the Lawrence Journal World, the owner of Johnny’s Tavern will close on Tuesday, indefinitely, until changes are made.
Because of this situation, Johnny’s Tavern North is closing on Tuesday for the first time in over 30 years. We need to give our staff a mental health break and to reevaluate our ability to provide for them and our customers.Johnny’s Tavern in Lawrence
Owner Rick Renfro told the Journal World that he wants the city to install a fence around the camp, provide professional staff between 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. and to control the amount of people staying at the camp to avoid overflow.
“The first two weeks, it was great,” Renfro said. “There were 42 people, and I was impressed. Then, all of a sudden, I looked out there and said ‘wow, you got more tents.’ From there, it started getting worse.”
Renfro said his staff and patrons have experienced issues with the population staying at the camp, due to the proximity to Johnny’s.
“I would love to be able to open back up Wednesday morning,” Renfro said. “But I don’t know what the reaction is going to be. What I’m really trying to accomplish is a better environment for my employees and customers.”