Downtown bar owner proposes temporary cut back of entertainment district hours

MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – It’s been just over a week since one person was killed, and nine others were shot on Dauphin Street just before the city’s New Year’s Eve celebration. This comes about a month after four people were shot by Paparazzi on the street. Saddle Up Saloon owner Greg Loughlin says he feels business is being affected.

“The numbers are scary. Who wants to go fight through that mess,” Loughlin said.

Loughlin brought his concerns to the Mobile City Council where he says part of that may be because of the crowds in the city’s entertainment district.

“The crowd on Dauphin Street is now bringing their own alcohol, playing their own music, smoking pot, forming groups of people that we now know unfortunately have been infiltrated by street gangs,” Loughlin said. “This crowd gathers in a way that makes it difficult and intimidating for tourists to pass.”

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In the past week, the Mobile Police have blocked the dauphin parking lot from Jackson to pregnancy streets from 11-3 on weekends to reduce some of the congestion. Loughlin feels the city should also shorten the entertainment district’s hours to get people off the streets earlier.

“The only thing we can do right now is get control of the road and that means right now in the short term we need to stop drinking at 9 o’clock,” added Loughlin. “We have to get these people off the streets and into clubs where we can walk them with weapons.”

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Currently, people can walk around with an alcoholic drink until midnight. District 2 Councilman William Carroll thinks rolling back the recreation area could do more harm than good.

“The times or actions or times that we close I think that’s a benefit to our city it drives entertainment, industry, it drives a lot of things that support our businesses downtown,” said Carroll.

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Although no decision is imminent Mayor Sandy Stimpson says she will continue to meet with bar owners to try and find a solution.

“Everyone is looking at this thing from a different lens. Everyone who has a proposal will be heard to make sure that we properly review this thing to make sure that we come out with a good result,” said Stimpson.

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