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Vote On Club Hours Is Expected Monday In Pine Bluff

The Pine Bluff council will vote tomorrow on how long night clubs can stay open.
PINE BLUFF, AR -- The clock is ticking on one Central Arkansas city's late club hours.

A decision to close Pine Bluff's clubs early goes up for a vote tomorrow.

There are 15 private clubs in Pine Bluff open until 5:00 in the morning.

The mayor would like to see them close at 1:00 a.m. instead to help prevent crime, but some people say the crime will continue no matter what hours the clubs are open.

Resident Ronny Stone said, "As long as your an adult and you know how to act, I don't see why anyone should have a rule on how long you should stay out or do what you're going to do as long as you're within the confines of the law."

Ronny Cox said, "If I was younger, if I couldn't go to another club, I'm going to somebody's house and I imagine that's probably what they'll do."

Lennon Walker, a member of First Assembly Church in Pine Bluff has a completely different opinion.

He said, "People don't belong on the street that time of night, it don't do nothing but cause trouble."

The Pine Bluff police chief says between 2:00-6:00 a.m. disturbances like fights and DWI's increase by 200% that's why the police department supports an ordinance that would close clubs earlier.

That's also part of the reason Mayor Debe Hollingsworth supports closing night clubs at 1:00 a.m.

She said, "I think it will make the residents, and those visiting our city, feel safer and that's what it's all about."

Monday will be the third and final reading of the night club ordinance and the council's vote will decide if clubs must close a couple hours earlier.

Mayor Hollingsworth also said, during her research, she found many college cities have similar laws requiring nightclubs and bars to close at 2:00 a.m. so she doesn't think this would prevent younger people from living in Pine Bluff.

The council meets tomorrow night at 5:30 p.m. and the public is welcome to attend.

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