El Salon de Fiestas
|In English it translates to the "Banquet
Hall." To the Lenoir City Police Department it translates to a huge
For those of you who may not get out to the better night spots in Lenoir City, El Salon de Fiestas or the Banquet Hall, is located in the Save-A-Lot shopping center. Lenoir City resident and potential 08 city mayoral candidate, Mike Lewis, opened the Banquet Hall several months ago after the Lenoir City Council changed the policy for renting the Memorial Building which all but eliminated the ability of illegal immigrants from using the Memorial Building. The change in policy came after a confrontation with the LCPD and a large crowd of Mexicans where several officers were attacked when a party got out of control. The Banquet Hall caters almost exclusively to Mexicans
Problems at The Banquet Hall began almost immediately. Numerous code violations from sanitation to over crowding were cited. Ultimately the facility was approved for about 125 capacity. El Salon de Fiestas or the Banquet Hall is usually open only on the weekends and rarely a weekend goes by without the LCPD having numerous calls and complaints from neighbors about the traffic or noise coming from the building which can be heard from blocks away. The parties sometimes go till 2:00am. This past weekend was no different.
Around 10:00 pm, LCPD received a complaint involving the Banquet Hall. Officers arrived to find a large crowd gathered inside and outside the building. It was immediately determined that the buildings occupancy capacity had been greatly exceeded. Officers reported that staff admitted selling more than 150 tickets to the live band event. This did not include employees or band members. The fire department and Fire Chief were called to respond to determine what action should be taken. Staff were told that the number of people in the building would have to be reduced or they would have to close the building. A large number of the party goers then left the building.
In his hurry to get to the festivities, one perspective partier didn't even make it to the party. Nearly striking officer Joe Foster's cruiser, he found himself spending the night at the jail rather than the on the dance floor.
Regardless whether it's Mexicans, Americans or
Martians, a facility like the Banquet Hall is a disaster in the making.
With drinking and pot smoking openly taking place in the parking lot,
it's just a matter of time before something bad is going to happen. Then
questions will be asked and fingers will be pointed to decide who is
responsible. While they are doing the best they can, the Lenoir City
Police department has neither the resources nor the man power to baby
sit the Banquet Hall every weekend and should not have to. I doubt
seriously that the majority of the patrons of the Banquet Hall pay any
taxes that support the LCPD or any other city services.