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Possible Cape bar hours extension back in discussion

Posted at 10:49 PM, Jan 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-25 22:49:14-05

CAPE CORAL, Fla., - New talks in City Council could be reviving a pilot program allowing bars in South Cape Coral to stay open till 4 am.

 This, after a pilot program in 2015 and 2016 kept bars open later for a year. But it didn’t have enough votes after the program ended.

Now, with a major makeover coming to 47th Terrace that’ll increase construction, City Council Member John Carioscia brought up the idea in a meeting Monday suggesting it could help businesses stay afloat during the construction phase.

 “I think with the new project down there, it would probably be a good idea to take a look at bringing it back,” Carioscia said.

Businesses in the Cape’s entertainment district continue to attest to the boost the trial brought to their business.

The owner of Nevermind Awesome Bar & Eatery says the business made 60% more during the year bars were open later.

However, the idea is not without a few downsides.

The first being crime.

“At that time, we did show peaks as far as when the bars were open, that the rates went up for certain types of crimes,” said David Newlan, Cape Coral Police Chief.

A second being funding.

With more crime reported last time, there would be a need for additional officers to patrol the area.

Council Member District 2 Marilyn Stout says if the City has to hire more officers, she’s not for the idea.

 “The requirement for 5 additional policeman didn’t make sense to me to go ahead and approve it so consequently if nothing has changed, that will still be my position,” Stout said.

The pilot program cost the City more than half a million dollars the first time around just in police resources alone. It’s unclear how much it would cost now if discussions move forward. Council members in Monday’s meeting expressed interest in studying the findings from the pilot program to see if it’s worth pursuing again.