City Council ends 4am bar hours in the Cape

Posted at 10:50 PM, Mar 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-29 06:36:31-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla. -- The Cape Coral City Council has voted 5-3 to pull the plug on extended bar hours in the city's entertainment district.

The late  closing time was first approved a year ago as part of a pilot program, allowing certain bars with a permit to stay open until 4AM.

But despite the boost in business it's brought to the south Cape, the council voted down a proposal to extend the 4AM bar hour pilot program another year.

The extended bar hours have led to an increase in calls for service by Cape Coral Police over the weekends.

The Police Chief said the increase could be  manageable if five more officers were hired by the department, instead of pulling officers from other areas like they have been doing.

On the positive side, the Community Redevelopment Agency said the extended bar hours have brought tremendous growth to the area, even bringing people from over the bridge to the south Cape.

Two participating bars, Backstreets and Dixie Road House, have experienced an increase in sales by 23 percent, and some of the surrounding businesses who haven't extended their hours are also seeing significant increases in sales.

But some council members were concerned about the cost of extra police officers and the rise in crime in light of the late hours.

Cape Coral residents expressed opinions on both sides.

"Nothing good can happen after two o'clock. If you can't get it in by two, go home and drink. At least you are safe in your house and people on the roads are safe," one resident said.

"We have gotten more positive press in the more two years than I can remember and in the history of me being a citizen in Cape Coral. I think all this is tied together, and those of you who are serving are looking forward into what the best interest of the city is," another resident said.

The pilot program ends Sunday, April 3rd, meaning Saturday, April 2nd is the last night of 4am closing time.