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Don’t make noise in Downtown Lakeland: Lakeland To Tighten Rules in Downtown

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Increased Noise, Fights, & Vomit….you say?!
by Tj Alcock

My response to this article in the Lakeland Ledger:
Lakeland To Tighten Rules at Traders Alley Bar After Complaints

Just stop already, because it’s ridiculous. Vomit in the streets, really. Let’s be honest, that vomit is from all the homeless and their bottles of cheap, less than well, vodka. Clean up the homeless and there will be less vomit in your streets. Fights; find me a bar in town that doesn’t have a disturbance after the drinks are flowing and I’ll give you an award. The security at any and all high capacity nightlife venues here in Lakeland are some of the best around, but instances of violence are always possible if/where alcohol is served.. Noise; There isn’t a bar in town that doesn’t make noise….martini bar, sports bar, restaurant, live music venue, you name it. There is nothing wrong with having fun and being louder than the library.

What residents live on Pine Street that can hear anything outside the exterior CEMENT walls of the building, that haven’t heard it for the last 15 years of businesses thriving in the downtown area? Are they also complaining on First Friday from the live band OUTSIDE and the 1,000’s of people roaming through the streets?! Face it Lakeland… thanks to your outlook on what the downtown nightlife should be vs what it honestly could be, you now have for lease signs all over the place and can’t get the locations rented out. Downtown is filled with businesses and only a handful of places actually draw people out DAILY to what should be the heart of the city. What good is the heart of a city, if it doesn’t flourish both day and night?

Now you want to revamp the laws because you believe what was good 10-15 years ago, isn’t good for today. You believe the twenty-somethings are bringing down the area and that ONLY 21+ should be allowed. Way to push the youth and college life out of our town. You once were the twenty-somethings and you mean to tell me that back then you only wanted to sit around and read a book all night right!? That you never wanted to go out and dance? Never wanted to see a live music show? And never wanted to have a few drinks? The fact is, the only (after 9pm) activity this town has (in the downtown area) comes from the all ages music of Evolution Records, the derbs inside our hometown diner The Chop Shop, a crowd at the Hookah Palace, the live music at Molly’s, and Traders Alley 210 where everyone knows they can go to dance and mingle. And your thoughts are, let’s limit people so they can’t enjoy that nightlife they prefer to venture out to….….awesome….. let’s force everyone to either; become a suit and tie establishment with clientele of only yesterdays “twenty-somethings” or to go somewhere else. What do you honestly hope to accomplish? You will force people to go elsewhere and make downtown a ghost town. Who knows, maybe that’s what you are going for.

There is nothing wrong with 210 or any of the other establishments who are actively keeping nightlife thriving in the downtown area. Downtown suffered a huge loss the day Lillians closed and the committee began disallowing new local entrepreneurs from re-opening a real nightlife location in its place. I personally went to the Lillians space last year to take a look at leasing it. After 8 years of mold from the hole in the roof that leaked years of rain-water, the build-in itself was around 50k+. The lease holder told me they wanted close to 10k+ per month for the space after that. Then to top it off, I was told it would be nearly impossible to bring in a liquor license bc the downtown committee would have to approve it and it wasn’t likely since there was a partial monopoly on Kentucky that somewhat controls that whole ideal….something I have actually heard from several other business owners. It’s no wonder downtown has never fully recovered and the “for lease” signs on several locations are still there years later.
The fact that Lynn and Zafolas are looking to make the new location a family establishment by day and a more solidified local establishment in the nightlife community should not warrant the city to make them wait on any changes to laws. Let me guess, the city won’t enforce these new laws on the “grand-fathered in” businesses bc we don’t want to hinder the established, right?! Furthermore, I can probably already tell you the new laws will highly benefit only the “kentucky ave wayne enterprise” (as I call it) and hinder just about any other after 9pm hotspot. The 210 building is obviously ready to be opened, the lease holders are in place, and the location is already established with the community. I say, stop trying to force businesses to be what some forty/fifty-somethings committee wants and actually cater to the eclectic groups of people who are flourishing to live in our town…those that actually go out and support the downtown area before/during/ & after 5pm…

My 2 pennies, take it however you want.
TJ Alcock
863area.com