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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Passing time shows a later bar closing isn’t that big of a deal

  • Around seven years ago, the Crookston City Council, voting on a motion to let Crookston bars stay open until 2 a.m. when they wanted to, deadlocked, with four voting yes and four voting against. Mayor Dave Genereux, after previously saying that if Police Chief Tim Motherway had no major concerns about giving bars the option t...
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  •     Around seven years ago, the Crookston City Council, voting on a motion to let Crookston bars stay open until 2 a.m. when they wanted to, deadlocked, with four voting yes and four voting against. Mayor Dave Genereux, after previously saying that if Police Chief Tim Motherway had no major concerns about giving bars the option to stay open one hour longer – Motherway didn’t have any big concerns – then he didn’t have any major concerns, either, surprised more than a couple people when he broke the tie by voting against.
        Afterward, asked why he voted the way he did, the mayor said he didn’t think Crookston was “ready” to have a 2 a.m. bar closing option.
        Several years later, with much less debate and much less contention than the last time around, the council, with Genereux voting yes, approved about a week and a half ago another 2 a.m. bar closing request, 6-2. Once the ordinance is changed and once the bars who want the option pay the additional fee to the state and to the city, local bars will be able to stay open until 2 a.m. on nights that they feel it’s worth it to do so.
        So what changed over the last seven years or so? Is Crookston “ready” now for this?
        To answer the first question and in the process probably touch on the second question, too, other than the council having a somewhat different makeup than it did back then, remarkably little has changed. Once again, Motherway said he talked to police chiefs in cities across the state with 2 a.m. bar closing options on the books, and his colleagues said it’s simply not that big of a deal. Once again, there isn’t a huge groundswell of Crookston drinking establishments demanding a later closing option. The Crookston Eagles Club, in need of as much additional revenue as it can generate, led the effort this time around, but no other local bar owner publicly stepped up to ask the council to support it.
        What did change, maybe, is that back then, the State of Minnesota had just changed the law, which allowed municipalities to let their bars stay open until 2 a.m. if they wanted. All kinds of cities made the switch in rapid fashion. Now, several years later, what Motherway learned is that the vast majority of bars in all these cities very rarely stay open until 2 a.m. When there are big events going on, some do, but it’s just not worth it most of the time for most bars to stay open later.
        So, in other words? It’s just not that big of a deal. Unless you work at a Crookston bar that stays open every now and then until 2 a.m., or you’re with friends at that bar when it stays open until 2 a.m., you’re just not going to know that anything’s changed. As far as sea changes go, this is a blip on the radar screen.
    Page 2 of 2 -     The council probably could have easily approved the later closing option seven years ago, and even then few would have noticed. Better late than never, though; if this helps some local bars make a little more money now and then, it’s a good thing.

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