Tuscaloosa city leaders consider changing rules for bars after several incidents

Updated: Apr. 21, 2021 at 7:34 PM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - Tuscaloosa city leaders are considering a series of changes after several arrests over the A-Day weekend related guns, drugs and overcrowded bars.

Tuscaloosa had already experienced several problems at bars and some gun related crimes over the past few weeks. But city leaders say things got worse over A-Day Weekend.

“It surprised me we didn’t have more displaying of guns or actual shootings,” City Councilman Kip Tyner said Wednesday. Tyner said he witnessed several disturbing things when he was near the University of Alabama Strip Saturday night. Police seized guns from several people during the course of criminal investigations. And there was overcrowding on the street and inside several bars according to city leaders.

“If you’re truly not serving food and truly operating a bar which allows people who are under the age of 21 to come in, it allows you higher occupancy levels, that needs to be enforced,” Mayor Walt Maddox told city councilors during Tuesday’s pre-council meeting.

Only the Alcohol Beverage Control Board can do that according to the Mayor. Maddox now wants the city council to consider several changes that could lead to less overcrowding and maybe stem recent violence in entertainment districts around town. Changes could include spacing bars out, looking at how long bars can stay open and when they can serve alcohol and should vehicle access to these areas be limited so they become areas where you can only get close to them by walking and not driving.

“A majority of bar owners are doing a great job. We’ve got a 10 percent who are doing a terrible job and they know it. They’re allowing people in for that dollar,” Tyner continued.

A new city council will be sworn in less than a month. Councilman Tyner added, there are already meetings scheduled with current and incoming council members to address these concerns.

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