If the City Council doesn’t vote today to extend closing times of bars until 3 a.m., it won’t be for a lack of trying on the part of late-night bars and their denizens.
Council members were flooded Wednesday with shows of support for making St. Petersburg a last-stop destination in a nightlife world that’s eclipsed now by Tampa’s later burning neon lights.
The St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to council members that endorsed the longer drinking hours, saying that the move would boost the city’s economy and quality of life.
“The extension will provide downtown businesses the opportunity to reap both direct and indirect revenues,” wrote John T. Long, the chamber’s president and chief executive. “This will help our city to better compete with Tampa for after-hours entertainment, keeping our residents and tourists here for an entire evening.”
Last week, the chamber released results of an informal, nonscientific poll of its 2,700 members. Nearly three-quarters of those who responded strongly favored the longer hours, said Jessica Eilerman, the chamber’s director of public policy and tourism.
On Wednesday, the recently formed St. Pete Hospitality Association political action committee delivered more than 1,000 signatures endorsing the move to City Hall. Continue reading here.