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bobliocatt

Drink Downtown until 4am?

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by J. Brooks Terry

Staff Writer

Across the state, alcohol sales at bars and restaurants stop at 2 a.m. It

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Raise your hand if you think this is a good thing...

Ok... I see most of you raising your hands...

Ok.. Now Raise your Hand if you think Some Big Downtown churches (no names please) will cause this to never be passed....

Hmmm... everyone raises their hand...

Interesting

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yet another reason why suzanne jenkins is currently the city's best council member. she's one of only 2 or 3 that actually have a real vision for downtown.

while i'm sure some churches might complain about this proposal, i doubt first baptist would have a leg to stand on. this zone appears to purposefully stay as far away from their property as possible.

i bet the biggest opponent will be cecil powell. (he owns that fraternal "temple" a few blocks north of bay. he was so angry just with the plans to allow liquor permits on bay street at all! he was spouting fire and brimstone about how the bay st. town center is going to bring drugs and hookers and gangs and the wrath of god....

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Neh... All the drugs, hookers etc are all at emerson and philips... No reason to go downtown

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I'm impressed. This issue came up sometimes when I lived in New England and I don't think I ever heard anyone in a position of "responsibilty" say anything good about the idea of letting bars stay open later. Why do you think Jacksonville is so supportive of it? Mainly economics? Differences in regional attitudes? I've always wondered what kind of arguments could actually build support for pushing back closing times.

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I'm impressed. This issue came up sometimes when I lived in New England and I don't think I ever heard anyone in a position of "responsibilty" say anything good about the idea of letting bars stay open later. Why do you think Jacksonville is so supportive of it? Mainly economics? Differences in regional attitudes? I've always wondered what kind of arguments could actually build support for pushing back closing times.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Here in Phoenix the politicians just recently (4 months ago) allowed any place that serves alcohol to serve it until 2 am. To me, what the City Council person in Jacksonville is trying to do is foster a attitude that will promote entertainment in downtown Jacksonville. Sure you could have the normal 2am rule, but the proposal above shows that she is aware that in order for a entertainment to thrive you must have a more flexible setting. I'm sure you all have noticed that the more someone get plastered in a bar or club, the longer they tend to stay.

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I'm impressed. This issue came up sometimes when I lived in New England and I don't think I ever heard anyone in a position of "responsibilty" say anything good about the idea of letting bars stay open later. Why do you think Jacksonville is so supportive of it? Mainly economics? Differences in regional attitudes? I've always wondered what kind of arguments could actually build support for pushing back closing times.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I suspect opponents will bring out the usual arguments about how God and our grandmothers would be very dissapointed with us. But that's only going to hold weight with so many people, even in Jacksonville. The argument that it would create excessive noise and rowdiness is basically irrelevent. No one lives along the direct path of this proposal. Just some offices, lots of vacant retail, lots of surface parking.

The pro-arguments are pretty simple. Jacksonville is very boring. It has little nightlife. This could help. It could give downtown a competitive advantage over the suburbs, which is always nice. It could also theoretically lead to entertainment/retail development and thus economic growth.

Also, I don't really buy the argument that bars are undesireable, or that they attract criminal elements. Strip clubs and cheap motels, no doubt are crime magnets. But even cheap, seedy bars are nice neighborhood assets (for example, Sherwoods on the southbank)

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On an intellectual level, I personally feel that the burden of a good argument should be placed on the act of creating restrictions. Frankly, loosening government restrictions should rarely need a good reason. Let the opponents first try to justify keeping the restrictions.

The pro-arguments are pretty simple. Jacksonville is very boring. It has little nightlife. This could help. It could give downtown a competitive advantage over the suburbs, which is always nice. It could also theoretically lead to entertainment/retail development and thus economic growth.

Also, I don't really buy the argument that bars are undesireable, or that they attract criminal elements. Strip clubs and cheap motels, no doubt are crime magnets. But even cheap, seedy bars are nice neighborhood assets (for example, Sherwoods on the southbank)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

If you limit the arguement to downtown you have a chance to succeed. The nightlife is outside of downtown and the subs have held that advantage over downtown. It has to be relevant b/c if you try to justify it by saying there is little nightlife in the city as a whole people probably will blow you off b/c for the most part that isn't the case. If you make that argument for DT people will be more like to warm-up to the idea b/c they'll think of it as creating a needed asset. You have to make people believe they need it.

How many clubs do you need before a city is not boring? How many clubs do you need before a particular neighborhood is not boring is the question that I think the council woman is trying to focus on.

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^I like the idea of downtown having that "late night" advantage over the suburbs!

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Kudos to councilwoman Jenkins. I have always liked her myself. BTW, I THINK she is a Baptist herself.

Am I reading this right, is the 1st Street in the boundary description the 1st Street in Springfield? Will this cover all of downtown from Bay Street to Springfield? Personally, I wouldn't have a problem with leaving the First Baptist property as an alcohol-free donut-hole, just as long as it wasn't too big. Assuming that would help with the passage of the bill. Those particular blocks are not condusive to bars anyway compared to the Landing/Bay St/Adams St. areas.

This will be interesting to watch.

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I think they mean the "zone" will specifically follow Bay Street, east to A. Phillip Randolph, and north to 1st Street. The intersection of APR and 1st should be outside of the Springfield historic district. However, there are a few seemingly historical commercial buildings left in the area. It's still a pretty darn seedy area right now, despite recent streetscaping improvements.

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The argument that it would create excessive noise and rowdiness is basically irrelevent. No one lives along the direct path of this proposal. Just some offices, lots of vacant retail, lots of surface parking.

True, although this argument will only work in certain cases, i.e. nightlife in specially zoned districts far from other things. If this leads to more development in downtown do you think there will be an eventual backlash against the nightclubs?

Also, I don't really buy the argument that bars are undesireable, or that they attract criminal elements. Strip clubs and cheap motels, no doubt are crime magnets. But even cheap, seedy bars are nice neighborhood assets (for example, Sherwoods on the southbank)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The perception that develops depends a lot on what happens in practice. In Boston or Providence everytime there is a fight or shooting outside a club or late nite diner (of which there are alas too many) it pushes the mood against nightlife. I heard a similar story in Atlanta a few years back, they made last call earlier after a lot of violence. How likely do you think that is in jacksonville?

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If this leads to more development in downtown do you think there will be an eventual backlash against the nightclubs?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Absolutely. That's one reason why it would be better to do this now, rather than in ten years when there might be a few more thousand people living in the area. try to stay a few steps ahead of the NIMBY's. Get "grandfathered" in. :)

Also, yes, the suburban clubs have shootings sometimes. From living in Providence for a few years, I certainly have experienced first-hand how ridiculous things get when EVERYTHING shuts down at 2am. So would a 4am closing make that problem better or worse? I can certainly imagine arguments either way.

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This is a great idea. I was just talking with someone today about how everything shuts down so early, even on the weekend. While I'm not particularly fond of people getting even more sloshed, moving last call from 1:30 to 3:30 means the band can play longer, the restaurants can stay open later, the party will continue. Good news for a night owl.

:thumbsup:

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Wow! This really could be the jumpstart that Downtown Jacksonville needs - What a great advantage that clubs downtown will have!

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Having just returned from New Orleans (where bars sometimes close but dont have to), I have mixed feelings on this. On the one hand, if bars downtown only could remain open till 4 am, this would clearly create an entertainment district like a lesser Bourbon Street. On the other hand, there are negatives which accompany late night drinking, such as vandalism, vomit/urine in the streets and on buildings, littering, fights, encouraging alcoholism, etc. I dont know if legally they could have late closing in just one area either. Still, I think it would probably be a good thing in the proposed area of downtown as long as cops dont allow it to get out of hand. So, I am in favor of it.

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Anybody hear if it passed? or at the very least is still alive?

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Kudos to councilwoman Jenkins.  I have always liked her myself.  BTW, I THINK she is a Baptist herself.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

She is Baptist, but not Southern Bapitst (anymore)--Eucamenical--big difference.

jjoshjl- you asked if it passed- it was only introduced last night, now it must go thru at least six weeks of committee meetings, i.e. scrutiny. I like the idea but I honestly don't think there's even the slightest chance this will pass. The other council members will never let downtown have this much of an advantage over their districts. Hopefully I am wrong.

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Well it will be interesting to see what happens. I like this idea, because it gives downtown an advantage over the suburbs in establishing a compact nightlife district, given that rental rates tend to be higher in downtown, which currently makes it a disadvantage to operate there.

This issue is also a good judge of how far our city has come. If there's a HUGE negative outcry and its voted down big time, this could show that we're really not ready to be prime time and that we're happy being a second rate city with no real nightlife in downtown.

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A more compact "entertainment zone" will also be more easily managed and patrolled. The separation of night life venues in this city make it hard to staff up on police coverage. The city could staff up on foot patrols downtown much easier and with less officers than they could in the suburbs. That would easily minimize the criminal element.

This could definitely be the edge the city needs to revitalize downtown.

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The criminal element can also be reduced by clubs and bars serving alcohol, having age restrictions (21 & up only) and casual dress codes. From my experiences in the club and bar scene, the most rowdy tend to be on the younger side (under 21) and most people are less likely to fight and engage in childish activities when they have their good clothes on.

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Thanks Downtown...

I know you said that alot of suburb Concil members won't allow it, and your more then likely right. But it's sad when those that represent us don't care to look beyond their own districts. Their job is to make JACKSONVILLE a better place first, and there district second. If they can't have even the slightest level of vision to see beyond that, then something has to change in the Concil Members line up. Concil isnt suppose to be Mandrin vs Springfield vs Ortega. Every concil member there represents everyone in JAX.

Furthermore, if churches stick their hands in concil too deep as it appears they do, that needs to change too. Don't get me wrong, I consider myself religious, and I support church functions, but even in the bible, which is ussualy misquouted I might add, does it say this is ok in moderation. if you ask me, limiting it to the bay street area fullfills that requirment.

People are going to drink... People are going to Party. We can either A) attempt to localize it more to downtwon, as asonj23 said, where it will be easier to maintain for Law enforcement, or B) not realy allow them downtown, and then they go and party elsewhere, more spread out, and more likely to result in drunk driving.

But it's just my opinion. and more than likely a high percentage of the populations opinion too, but alas, this is not the view of those we pay to represent us.

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hmm.. apparently a left parentheses wasnt good enough... it wanted a smiley instead

anyway... cheers

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Regarding closing times and nighlife zones, let me say a bit about Europe, since there is a wider range of approaches than in the US. I've lived in a French city where most of the nightlife is in smaller clubs and bars scattered throughout the neighborhoods (but this being France it's mostly walkable distances). Closing times are all across the board, from 1 AM up to dawn. I have no idea if this has to do with licensing or each club just makes a different choice. There seemed to be few bad effects there. People stay relatively civilized, you don't have too many rowdy mobs in the streets, partly because the nightlife is so split up. On the other hand I spent some time in Liverpool, England which had a huge central club district. That place was an absolute zoo. People spilling out all over the place and making a lot of noise at night, and it was a mess the next morning. So I can see how one big nightlife zone could lead to more opposition. Of course there is also the difference in mentality between each country to consider, but I was amazed there was so much late nightlife in France with many fewer problems.

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