Hattiesburg to discuss proposals over city nightlife

By Mike McDaniel - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Nightlife in the Hub City could soon get a makeover

"I believe it's become very obvious to me that something does need to happen that some change needs to take place," said city council president Kim Bradley.

Bradley says over the past year or so, problems with some nightclubs have gotten out of hand, most recently, the shootings of three USM football players outside of Remington's Hunt Club.

"I think for the future of our city and the welfare of our citizens, its time that somebody or something is done to try to get this situation under control," said Bradley.

To do so, Bradley says the city administration will put together a committee to discuss proposals aimed at putting a stop to "undesirable business"

"Everything has got to be discussed, it needs to be on the table," said Bradley.

On the table could be making business owners more responsible for what happens, an increase in security or even shorter operating hours, from the current 2 a.m. cut off, to possibly midnight.

For bar owners like Todd Case with Sidelines, an early closing is not the way to go.

"Closing at 12 would definitely hurt weekend business. It's pretty safe to say that my business on weekends doesn't get pick up until 10:30 11 o'clock at night," said Case.

Before the council makes any final decisions Bradley says there will need to be lots of discussion. That's something city councilman Dave Ware agrees with. Tuesday afternoon, Ware sent a letter to Bradley asking the council to hold a public meeting in December. The letter says, in part , "...to bring all interested parties together not only to be heard, but also to contribute, as we outline our concerns and possibly re-define our goals for Hattiesburg's nightlife."

"I think we can get on the same page and work together to try to correct this problem," said Bradley.

In the meantime, Case says he may not have a solution himself, but like Bradley, agrees there needs to be input from nightclub and bar owners before actions are taken.

"It bothers me completely that other small businesses would get punished for something that happened one time at a club versus a neighborhood bar and grill," said Case.

"All we want is our city to be the best that it can be and this is truly a black eye that we need to correct and to fix and to not allow the element to take over our town," said Bradley.

An element Bradley says will be dealt with whatever the outcome may be.

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