By: Katie Jones
Go in and buy or get the boot, that's the message from Rock Island city leaders. It's all apart of an effort to crack down on crime in the downtown area. Monday night, City Council members approved a new ordinance that would forbid anyone underage from loitering in and around the Great River Plaza between midnight and 3 a.m.
Hickey Brothers hookah lounge owner Michael King has been in business downtown for 17 years and said he's seen his fair share of trouble. "Certainly there's been problems over the years and we've tried to correct them but it just hasn't worked. This is a new alternative and it's geared toward a certain cliental," King said.
Fights, underage drinking and illegal activity, just to name a few of the problems king says have no business going on downtown and he hopes the new ordinance will eliminate the problem but he doesn't want it to scare away his 18 and over customers like Nathanial Gaston. "
I think as long as they know who they're trying to get, there shouldn't be any issues but again I would be nervous of profiling going on," Nathanial Gaston of Davenport said.
But rest assured, Mayor Dennis Pauley said folks going from business to business have nothing to worry about. "We want people to feel safe we want them to feel they can come down there they can enjoy themselves in the district without being harassed by anyone in the area," Rock Island Mayor Dennis Pauley said.
The new ordinance goes into effect December 31st after that, any one underage caught loitering in the District face anywhere between a 75 and 500 dollar fine.