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INDEX JOURNAL - 09/23/2022
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Bars in Greenwood could be required to close at 2 a.m. if an ordinance introduced Friday passes final reading by city council.

After two shootings this year involving patrons of South Main Bar & Grill sparked conversation this week about bar hours, Greenwood City Council had a special called meeting Friday morning to talk about potentially closing businesses licensed to sell alcohol for on-premise consumption from 2-6 a.m.

“This ordinance would essentially mirror the ordinance passed by county council 12 years ago,” Mayor Brandon Smith said.

The goal is to mitigate crime. Smith said he’d heard feedback from the community and police that indicated they’d think this could make Greenwood safer.

A proponent of this ordinance is Pathway House Executive Director Anthony Price, who was in attendance along with the homeless shelter nonprofit’s board of directors. Price said the two shootings outside South Main Bar & Grill risked endangering his clients.

City Manager Julie Wilkie said there are few tools available to police to deal with the type of crime happening in the early morning hours at bars.

“For me, this ordinance is another tool for the Greenwood City Police Department,” Chief T.J. Chaudoin said. “We have found that in a case like this, South Main Bar & Grill, ... they don’t really have a whole bunch of people show up until after 2 o’clock.”

Council member Johnathan Bass said he was in support of the ordinance for the purpose of getting to a public hearing, scheduled for Oct. 3.

“I personally have concerns and I have heard from bar owners — and not just bar owners, other businesses too — but that this is an overreach,” he said.

Smith agreed. He said some people think this decision is a no-brainer, but he doesn’t want to tell businesses what they can and can’t do.

The ordinance passed first reading unanimously, and Price said he was glad to hear council and the police chief’s support.

“What I watched on my security camera video was not just a threat to our clients, but a threat to his officers as well,” Price said.

The bar that sparked this discussion is no longer open. A for sale sign is posted underneath its marquee.

Wilkie said earlier in the week she was looking to review and revoke South Main Bar & Grill’s business license when she found it hadn’t been renewed this year. She reached out to the owners to inform them, and when they came in to renew their license the city denied the application.

“The first shooting wasn’t in their parking lot but it involved people who had just been there. The second shooting was in their parking lot,” Wilkie said. “I think everyone defines nuisance differently, but I’d say two shootings is a nuisance for the community.”

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