A proposal by the St. Charles City council to force bars on historic Main Street to stop selling alcohol past 11pm could have a major impact on the area.
Diana Neigel took over Llyod and Harry’s on Main Street two years. She said if this went into effect, it would devastate her business.
“I never would have come here,” said Neigel.
It was a sentiment echoed by owners of Big A’s, Llewellyn’s, Quintessential and others.
“We’ve never had problems of any kind in 29 years. This is an extreme measure,” said Tom Lloyd, owner of Big A’s.
The proposal, introduced by Dave Beckering, would prohibit alcohol sales from 11 pm to 6 am, Monday- Sunday. But it would only apply to bars in the Historic Downtown District from Clark Street to Jefferson.
Mayor Sally Faith said it’s important to protect the destination that Main Street has become.
“It’s important people say, ‘I want to go down to Main Street, I want to have dinner there, I want to bring my kids there,” said Faith.
Faith said she has not heard from people complaining about safety but News 4 has reported on increased efforts to improve safety in the bar district. St. Charles City Police have increased both uniformed and undercover officers. They’ve installed cameras and extra lights.
Safety concerns include underage drinking, fights on Main Street and a few reports of shots fired on the street.
Curtis Wilcoxen is the manager at Lloyd and Harry’s. He says they’ve made big changes over the years, including hiring good security, changing their menu prices, all in an effort to keep problems out of their bar.
“There is a culture down here that does get a bit out of control and that’s not acceptable. But if you focus on those infractions, most of those are found at certain locations,” said Wilcoxen.
He suggested that the council look at using the 11pm rule as a punishment for those that can’t follow the rules.
Lt. Tom Wilkison said the police department believes this could help curb some of the crime issues but says they do have the power to revoke specific liquor licenses. He said the department would support the city council’s decision.
The city council did not vote Tuesday night. There were five speakers against the proposal.
Randy Schilling is a business owner on the south end of Main Street. He said this was a good idea to look into.
“There’s got to be some solution to the public safety issues happening in our town. It is a challenge,” said Schilling.
The council did not discuss the matter, but the bill’s sponsor, Dave Becckering, told the crowd the change wouldn’t force them to close at 11pm, just stop them from selling alcohol. A comment that drew laughs from the crowded room.
The next meeting will be the first Tuesday in June. News 4 will follow up what happens next.
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