City Council Breathes Life into Oxygen Teen Nite Club

Despite concerns over patron age, alcohol and security, Oxygen Teen Nite Club passed through the city council, after heated discussion and design of requirements.

A proposed teen and young adult dance club is one step closer to opening in Oak Forest—but not before the owner meets several requirements set by the city. 

After nearly an hour of discussion, Aldermen Laura Clemons and Dan Ensing were steadfast against the plan, which received nods from the five others present. 

Patron age, alcohol and security topped the list of concerns, and aldermen established several conditions owner James Marcanio will have to meet before the club for 16- to 22-year-olds can open its doors.  

  • Prior to building permit approval, Marcanio must submit a parking agreement between Oxygen Teen Nite Club and neighboring Original Pancake House.

  • Marcanio must submit a standard operational procedure safety manual for police and fire departments' review and comment.

  • Install fire sprinkler system in accordance with fire department regultaions. 

  • Enforcement of curfews related to minors' use of facility.

"One of the things with a special use (permit) is that it is as of by right, as long as they meet the conditions," said Community Development Director Adam Dotson. "Meaning that, if indeed these conditions that are set forth in the ordinance are not met, they will not open.

If the owner meets, but later violates any of the conditions, the city could close the club. 

Alderman Ensing was the first to speak up about his concerns surrounding the club, citing a Buffalo Grove police study that showed teen clubs are often the source of more police incidents than bars.

"You can say you're going to police it as best you can and you're going to hire off-duty police officers and you're going to do everything you can to keep the riff-raff out," Ensing said. "But, these towns that have them, find that they generally have a lot of issues when it comes to putting teen night clubs and teen dance halls in there."

Clemons added on to Ensing's concerns, citing patron age as problematic.

"My concern in my overview with this is the age discrepancy, 16 to 22," Clemons said. "Does that mean 22 is the cut-off or will somebody over 22 be allowed in, so that there's a potential for a 29-year-old dancing on the dance floor with a 16-year-old?"

Marcanio said that security for the location will be made up of off-duty Crestwood, and hopefully, Oak Forest police officers, who will check IDs and scan any guests with a wand. He added that a security car will patrol the parking lot throughout the night to ensure that no fights or trouble happen outside of the establishment.

Marcanio added that the club will strictly enforce the city's curfew for its younger guests, turning down the music and turning up the lights about a half hour before curfew to escort younger patrons out of the establishment.

Older patrons would probably enter around 11 p.m., limiting the mingling of the youngest patrons with older patrons. Security will keep a close eye on older guests. 

"There's predators out there, and it's our job to keep these kids out there safe and secure," Marcanio said.

While aldermen worried that the owner might eventually request permission to have alcohol on the premises, Marcanio dispelled that idea. 

"We are never asking for [alcohol]," he said. "We're not having alcohol."


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Tired of the B.S. December 12, 2012 at 07:59 PM
Dawn, "Thirdly, why is it a red flag to have off-duty police at the establishment???" Well let's see, when you are opening a business that will be catering to children and one of your first concerns is to have the police there at all times, maybe your business should not open.
Darnell December 12, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Bad move! Wait til the first gang related shooting, stabbing or sexual assault! Hat's off to Clemons and Ensing! Best thing for that whole corner is to raze it and start from scratch all the way including old DD!
Patrick McCarthy December 13, 2012 at 04:25 AM
Are there any people out there that are positive about anything??? Most of the people who respond on the Patch are negative about everything. They could win the Lottery, but complain about paying taxes. This is a Teen Club, not a strip club. You can't watch your kids every second of the day. Teach them values, lead by example and you might like the results. There are gangs everywhere, ever go to the Mall??. Do you ban your kids from going there? Lighten up, this sounds like a good idea. I believe some schools have off duty policeman as guards, does that mean you don't send your kids to school? Ever go to a sporting event? Off duty police there, so does that mean it is unsafe, come on! Give this a chance, it sounds like a great place for young people to go. Let's be positive for a change, quit be so negative.
tmo121 December 13, 2012 at 08:24 AM
I think that the alderman who voted to approve this should be the people that patrol this place...open to close!
Jake December 13, 2012 at 01:14 PM
This idea is a waste of money and not a good investment, teen night clubs never work in neighborhoods! Kids will not pay to go into a venue were they cant smoke and drink. Its the honest sad truth.
Stones December 13, 2012 at 01:45 PM
Patrick, I can teach my kids all the values in the world but that doesn't protect them walking out of a teen "nightclub" into the middle of a gang fight. Yes, that could happen anywhere, but this scenario heightens the chances. It's more likely that my kids get hit by a car if I let them play in the street. Therefore, I don't let them play in the street. BTW, if I win the lottery, I'll happily pay the taxes.
Amy Kupcake Litviak December 13, 2012 at 02:02 PM
maybe you should go observe what happens at zero gravity (another teen night club). it might as well be a strip club for how little the girls wear. http://www.zgclub.com/ here's a convenient link for you to use!
Christopher December 14, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Completely agree with you, Rick.
Mike Fangman December 15, 2012 at 09:03 AM
As long as they keep the riffraff out, I have no problem with any type of new business opening up.
MIKE JONES December 15, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Agreed. This will be a major problem. This is a huge liability issue, not only for the owner but the City of Oak Forest as well. There are bound to be thugs from other communities showing up at this venue. If they do and someone gets hurt, common sense and history shows the blame will fall on the City of Oak Forest.
MIKE JONES December 15, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Stone, I agree with you. My biggest concern is the safety issue. My concerns are the families who live in that area or patronize one of the other businesses in that area. My personal litmus test is would I let my kids go there and it is an overwhelming "No". Pat, I agree with you on the way kids dress and by teaching morals and values at home. You can't watch your kids at all times and you have to trust that what you teach them at home will carry over into all aspects of life. If I win the lottery I will pay taxes, hopefully somewhere warm. Happy Holidays.
fb03 December 18, 2012 at 10:16 PM
Really not interested in allowing my 16 year old daughter to talk to a 22 year old man. Different mind sets, not that I don't trust my kid, I just don't trust yours. Ever think about what will happen on the Friday night when the bengals beat the braves or the titans and they all go to the same teen club. It's not being negative, it's being realistic and preventative.
Concerned December 20, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Thank you Aldermen Laura Clemons and Dan Ensing for disagreeing with this concept. It seems like it will be more trouble in Oak Forest and invites others for other towns to come trash our neighborhood. We have enough crime already in Oak Forest. Why would be the age limit be set 16 to 22 - I do not think that 22 year olds should be socializing with 16 year olds. That right there seems like it will lead to trouble. How will they be able to tell who is under a curfew and who is not, alot of the younger girls that I know look older than 16 or 17. Will the attendees be stamped with their age? Cannot we find something else to fill that vacant spot?
Tom Ceska December 20, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Tom Ceska If this is called a " Teen Night Club " then why would you open the doors to someone that is 20, 21 22 last time I checked it was not 20teen 21 teen 22 teen...this town has enough problems with thugs, gangbangers, and wanabees. Why would we want to invite more problems. This is not for Oak Forest, this is a family community that helps, and supports its residents, lets not become a city that invites trouble.
Laura February 01, 2013 at 07:24 PM
Will it be cheaper to pay a cover charge and buy soda pop than to buy drugs?? What an alternative! I wonder if these kids will want to spend their hard earned money on music and soda pop?? This is a good way to for kids to enter the adult world.
Erin Wilder March 28, 2013 at 05:11 AM
Coming from a sensible 23 yr old taxpayer this is not a good idea my friend has a business right across the street that i visit and this night club is a block away from my own house more trouble to invite into this neighborhood that we dont need not a good idea at all city of oak forest i dont feel safe walking in my own neighborhood as it is without watching my back not a good idea having a liquor business right across the street from a teen night club def more trouble we dont need in oak forest we have enough going on in this neighborhood NOT A GOOD IDEA AT ALL
Erin Wilder March 28, 2013 at 05:14 AM
They better have police patrolling this club 24-7 open to close and where they are visibly seen at all times
Erin Wilder March 28, 2013 at 05:15 AM
And after so much trouble they better be shut down welcome to oak forest
Taxpayer March 30, 2013 at 12:39 AM
If its a teen club? Then why is anybody over nineteen going to be allowed in? Only the guardians should be over that age cut off! Oh,that means more trash or property damage to our area,thanks city hall!
Taxpayer March 30, 2013 at 12:45 AM
We have so many vacancies,tear them down and role some sod and plant an oak tree!!!!!
T Mez April 02, 2013 at 03:55 PM
James Marcanio, I don't know you but I personally think this place is a great idea, given the right security measures are in place. Kids need a hang out which they won't get kicked out of like McDonalds and other fast food joints...a place to go with their friends as a group where they will not be raided by police and frisked without warrant just for standing there (parks, parking lots, etc). Kids need a place where they can walk in as a group without the evil eye (stores etc). Our society has made it very hard for a youth to be a youth and have fun without alcohol and drugs. A kid climbs a tree and the police are called (liability issue). Obviously there are security risks in everything (like older, bored kids having no where to go except to a party where kids are drinking). Reality Check- in the 1980's a kid could still use a school or park baseball diamond to play at with a group of friends or play basketball with a working hoop without a membership to a club. The notion of the 'bad apple ruins it for the good' sings its chorus and there you go... another good thing a kid is not allowed. Seriously, adults need to take back the reign and fight for these teens. It is our job to take back the streets and give kids more good opportunities- not less. I like this idea of the Oxygen Night Club. Good for you James! I am a parent on board with this.
Taxpayer April 02, 2013 at 11:07 PM
I have no problem with hangouts,I loved hanging out with friends at Dukes,Haunted trails,Scottsdale plaza,I hope i'm wrong cause if i'm not! I'm gonna have to police bad kids from bad parents!
Lizzy May 29, 2013 at 07:01 PM
I left Oak Forest Illinois 15 years ago. It was a dump back then in this very same location. Your age limit is a problem. Why would a 21 year old be a patron of a place that doesn't sell alcohol unless the intent is to sell kids drugs or take the young girls who want to party out and buy them liquor. Lower the age from 16 to 20 and not after 11 pm allow anyone over 20 in. This is a disaster waiting to happen. No normal 21 yo would want to be surrounded by youths unless they have an alterior motive. Yeah go for it! I want to hear the trouble these teens get into.Chicago is now the most violent in the country and has more Drug Cartel residing there than anywhere else in the country cause President O, has given any illegal free reign to enter the states. Heck if I ever visit there I know where I can buy drugs with out a problem. Cool idea just lower the age. You that are for it must be the predators. I know not my kid.LOL
Lizzy May 29, 2013 at 07:10 PM
Search for the article that from 2008 when O entered office there were 203 of the most violent drug cartel residing in the entire country the Sino las which also have a presence in 50 other countries. Since 2008, now we have 1200 residing here. Its not weed there selling. LOL Article finds it interesting that of all places they are traveling 1500 miles to Chicago to reside from Mexico? Wonder why? Cause its O's home state? Well open up this little teen place and watch how your kid changes. The article is easy to search for on the web under the Sinolas and you will see Illinois has two areas they reach both north and south in the state. They have it covered.
Lizzy May 29, 2013 at 07:42 PM
For those with the addiction of denial, not my kid cause they are good kids and good grades, think again. This would be a great place and a good idea but make sure they patrol the bathrooms or watch the exchange of handshakes and hugs. Kids that are involved and arent bored don't need a place like this. This is the perfect breeding ground for meeting up and hooking up for drugs also exchanging phone numbers to call for what they need when not hanging out. If they buy in the bathrooms at school you don't think its going to happen here? Think again. Kids in groups or not go out of boredom and what will make it more pleasurable is buying some good molly, X or whatever to spice up the evening. Its too bad and its a great idea but one that even your honor roll, athlete will end up experimenting and god forbid become addicted. Look up the statistics and don't be the parent that says Not my kid cause those parents end up looking like fools and every other parent knows before you do. Take it from one who's been there just trying to save you and your kids.
Lizzy May 29, 2013 at 07:47 PM
This spot has been nothing but sleeze from the very first night club changing over last when I left to some 50's place back in the mid 80's I was 17 and always allowed in and cocaine even back then you could find it you wanted. Good luck O.F.
Jennifer D. May 30, 2013 at 04:40 PM
This is the stupidest idea I have ever heard!! If this is a TEEN CLUB, it should be for teens - not adults!!! There is no way in hell I would allow my 16 year old to go into this club knowing there are 21 and/or older than that allowed. That's just stupid and asking for trouble. The age limit should stop at 17!
Natalie Horvath June 28, 2013 at 10:07 PM
WORST IDEA EVER!!! 20-22yr olds allowed with teenagers!!! There's definitely a problem here!!! I can't believe this was even allowed to happen. I agree with the people above, this is a problem waiting to happen!!! Let's see how many predators get in there and how many complaints are called in to the OFPD. This is a shame. Now, if the age was 16-19, well, then it sounds like a great idea. But, it's not, Unfortunately. My daughter will not be stepping foot in that place!
Mike Fangman June 29, 2013 at 12:11 AM
Natalie, you were a teenager once. What is the one way to ensure a teenager is go
Mike Fangman June 29, 2013 at 12:17 AM
Natalie, you were a teen once. The surest way to ensure your daughter is going to go to that place is to prohibit her from doing so. She'll tell you she and her friends are going to the movies in Orland or Crestwood and they'll be going to the club. Instead of trying to mollycoddle her, voice your concerns but let her make her own decisions.


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