The city council voted Monday afternoon to let bars within the city’s CRA district boundaries to stay open until 3:00 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. This will only apply to bars located on Cape Coral Parkway East and SE 47th Terrace street, but in order to stay open later the bars have to apply for an extended hours permit.
Even though Denise Ahlstrom thinks that extending bar hours will help businesses in the local area she has some safety concerns. In the past Ahlstrom has experienced the effects of people drinking, “one of the things we’ve noticed is that sometimes when we come in there’s broken beer bottles or litter all around the store — sometimes they would have a fight outside and there would be evidence of that all around and if someone had to they would be sleeping outside of the building and things like that,” says Denise Ahlstrom.
Denise Ahlstrom is not alone. The business owners we talked to that are located across from Dixies Roadhouse and people who live in the area have concerns about bars being opn an extra hour on the weekends. Some business owners have also seen some damages to their locations caused by people being intoxicated.
Extending bar hours comes with a price tag, but what is the cost of extending hours? The last time the City of Cape Coral tried to extend hours, it cost an estimated $160,000 to pay five police officers overtime. With this new provision the Community Redevelopment Agency will pay one-third of the cost and the city will pay the rest. The city will have a trial for the new extended hours that starts April and runs through April 2019 to examine crime a revenue numbers.