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License Commission delays vote on 1 a.m. closing time

Date: 4/4/2013

By Carley Dangona

SPRINGFIELD — The License Commission postponed its ruling regarding a 1 a.m. closing time for entertainment venues to its next meeting on April 18, citing lost documents as the reason for the decision.

Peter Sygnator, chairman, stated that the Police Department statistics had been "misplaced" and that the commission would resubmit the request for the information.

He said statistics from April 1, 2011 to March 31, 2012 and from April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013 would be requested.

Mayor Domenic Sarno first suggested ending the sale of alcohol at an earlier time in July 2012, following what he said were improvements in public safety in the club district downtown by the cessation of entertainment at 1 a.m.

In a letter to the License Commission, he wrote, "The new [entertainment] regulations were effective April 6, 2012. The regulations have had a positive effect on various crime statistics in the downtown entertainment district since the implementation of the regulations.

"Specifically, a comparison of the time period from April 6, 2011 to May 6, 2011 (when the Special Late Night Permit was not in effect) and the same period for 2012 (after it went into effect) indicates a 22 percent decrease in the total number of calls for service by the Springfield Police Department in the Stearns Square area between Worthington Street and Bridge Street within the heart of the entertainment district; 401 versus 314.

"In addition, the overtime costs to the Police Department for that same area have gone down 10 percent from $16,136 down to $14,574," he continued.