Parks drops idea of allowing East St. Louis night clubs to stay open late

News DemocratJune 21, 2013 

East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks.


East St. Louis -- East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks Jr. won't pursue late night hours and 24-hour licenses for night clubs and taverns in the city after hearing public outcry.

"I have decided to withdraw the proposed extending of the hours," Parks said. "At this time, there does not seem to be fervent enough support within the community to legislate the extension."

The decision means nightclubs must close by 3 a.m.

Parks' change of heart was pleasant news for metro-east officials.

"I am pleased that the mayor has taken into consideration the community's resistance to expanding liquor hours," U.S. Attorney Stephen Wigginton said. "I am encouraged that he listened to people in law enforcement that it would not be wise to expand the hours of operation for the liquor selling establishments.

St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly was also pleased.

"The mayor and City Council have been supportive of the Metro East Police Commission's efforts to rebuild law enforcement from the ground up. This is a wise choice which will allow this work and other endeavors by federal state and local law enforcement to have a fighting chance at success."

The city's residents were also in favor.

Matt Hawkins, of East St. Louis, said he is "pleased that the liquor hours will remain in sync with the surrounding region so that people who are already drunk will not come here to continue drinking, endangering their lives and ours."

Despite his change of heart, Parks isn't ready to drop the idea of a River's Edge Entertainment District. A public hearing on the issue is June 26, though the discussion about allowing night clubs to stay open late is off the table.

"Communities all over the world host businesses that provide entertainment as their primary source of revenue. East St. Louis should be no exception," Parks said. The city "needs to encourage keeping and growing jobs by way of quality entertainment for families and others."

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