Springfield bars will remain open until 2 a.m. despite a proposal by Mayor Domenic Sarno to get an earlier curfew.
The city license commission voted 3 to 2 Thursday night in favor of allowing bars to remain open until 2 a.m.
There was surprise on both sides of the issue after the vote.
Owner of Samuel's Sports Bar at the Basketball Hall of Fame, Eddie Grimaldi says he came to the meeting waiting to hear the worst.
"I'm actually shocked, I was really expecting a 1 o'clock no re-entry police to be put in place," he said.
Chairman of the licensing commission, Peter Sygnatore also thought his commission would stand behind the mayor's proposal.
"I'm disappointed that the commission did not choose to take Mayor Sarno's suggestion to role the hours back to 1 o'clock," Sygnatore said.
The city imposed a 1 a.m. entertainment curfew on all bars last year. Police statistics show that since that time, there has been a 29 percent decrease in arrests.
The mayor reacted to the decision in a statement saying:
"I am very disappointed in the License Commission's vote. My administration has been steadfast in continuing to combat these establishments that cater to underage patrons, gang bangers and weapon carting thugs," he said.
But commissioners who voted against an earlier curfew say it could have hurt the city economically.
"This is not just a public safety issue, it is an economic issue. And that's one of the things we took into consideration when we made the vote," said license commissioner, Orlando Ramos.
Grimaldi left city hall thankful for that one extra hour of business.
"I mean a 1 o'clock closing would be too disruptive to our business model, the way we've set it up right now," he said.
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