The Local Liquor Commission has autho- rized the Liquor Advisory Board to discuss allowing alcohol sales on South Illinois Avenue during Halloween.
Bars on The Strip such as Stix, Hangar 9 and Sidetracks are affected by the long- standing Halloween ordinance that states they must be closed on the holiday. The policy was set after past Halloweens sparked uncontrollable crowds of people who were sometimes destructive to the town.
Sally Carter, owner of Hangar 9, initi- ated the discussion by requesting the city to re-examine the ordinance. The liquor com- mission discussed the idea before Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.
Mayor Joel Fritzler said he doesn’t think reviewing the policy is a bad idea, especially after he observed Saturday’s Polar Bear.
“There was cooperation with the city and the university … and I think it was a suc- cess,” he said.
Commissioner Jane Adams said she agreed.
“This town has a lot of young people who are here on their own for the first time, get- ting out of the nest,” she said. “Any college town, to really make it welcoming to those
young people, need celebrations, need events that they can feel like they’re part of the town.”
Councilman Lance Jack, who is not on the liquor commission, made a citizen com- ment during the meeting. He said there’s a perception that all businesses are closed when the bars are closed on The Strip.
“Not only are we penalizing the bar license holders in downtown, but we’re penalizing all those who own restaurants and other businesses as well,” he said.
Commissioner Chris Wissmann said something similar.
“The responsible thing journalistically would have been to set up some cameras last year and show how dead The Strip was, how little revenue is generated, how badly the city is doing on that holiday,” he said.
Meghan Cole, director of Carbondale Main Street, suggested the Liquor Advisory Board hold a public meeting about the topic. She said the community has a strong interest in the subject and would bring some worthy comments.
The board’s public hearing will be held in March.