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Rock Island City Council vote fails, bar close returns to 3:00 a.m.

Published: Jul. 28, 2020 at 12:19 AM CDT
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ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (KWQC) - A recommendation by Rock Island Mayor Mike Thoms to close bars at 2:00 a.m., instead of 3:00 a.m. failed in a vote by the city council.

Last month, Mayor Thoms made the hour change in an emergency declaration. After 30 days, the city council had to pass a vote to extend the change.

After debate, discussion, and an opportunity to hear from bar owners themselves at Monday’s city council meeting, the motion failed in a four yeas to two nays vote. The recommendation needed a super majority to pass.

The failed vote came as a relief for bar owners in Rock Island’s The District who said they rely on the extra hour of business.

“I want you to support the businesses in Rock Island. I want you to support the property owners. If you don’t, I don’t disagree with some people. I don’t think there will be many businesses left down here in the arts and entertainment district,” Terry Tilka told the city council, “It’s a tough decision for everybody but taking away that last hour, you’re going to kill these guys. and that’s going to include me.”

“We make half of our sales between 12:30 and 2:30 when we call last call,” Chris Michaels, owner of Billy Bob’s said to TV6 following the city council vote.

A focus of Monday’s discussion was the safety and reputation of The District. Mayor Thoms said the connotation of the district is that it’s unsafe.

“I hate to air dirty laundry this way but that’s what we were getting. That reputation. And we needed to curb that. Is it the safest place in the Quad Cities to be?” he said.

Michaels said the bar owners are working together to make sure the area is safe and positive. He said in the last couple weeks, there have been no issues.

“We put and implemented a plan that we talked to with the city and Mayor Thoms about gating off the district. We put that in place three weeks ago. Since then we’ve had no issues. No one single issue,” Michaels said, “The district right now is the cleanest place to go. You literally have to go through an airport checkpoint just to get into the district and go to your favorite bars. There is no cleaner place in the Quad Cities right now to hangout and party this summer than The District.”

The Rock Island City Council will revisit the agenda item at the August 24 meeting, where they will consider another vote.

Copyright 2020 KWQC. All rights reserved.

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