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Danbury Tackles Downtown Nightclubs to Improve CityCenter

In an effort to revitalize downtown Danbury, the city council changed the rules for operating bars and nightclubs downtown.

Popular wisdom in Danbury says the city revised downtown ordinances in the last decade to curb problems with bars and nightclubs, but the end result was the changes pushed bar and restaurant business from CityCenter to Mill Plain Road. Problems still exist downtown, and the businesses aren't thriving. Danbury's City Council approved changes Tuesday night to revitalize the bar and restaurant business downtown.

The City Council's changes made Tuesday night to the city's ordinances force night clubs downtown to take out an entertainment license, and the ordinance now has punishments for excessive noise, trash, underage drinking or other alcohol abuses. The city can pull the license for repeat offenders.

Manny Carreras, who bought and is renovating the former nightclub at the corner of Ives and White, said he will not serve underage drinkers. He is building a pub/restaurant on the main floor and a lounge/nightclub upstairs for the weekend crowd. He said he will not serve people who are drunk and he will have security on site to keep the restaurant and bar crowd under control.

The Danbury Police Department patrols downtown on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, and the cost to the city varies from year to year, but it ranges from $150,000 to $370,000, said Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton.

Council member after council member asked if this ordinance would lower those costs.

Boughton said he hopes the new ordinances will lower those costs, and he thinks it is possible, but he said the goal is really to curb problems with drinking, noise and trash downtown. He said if the businesses stop serving people alcohol who are already drunk, that may cut the city's costs.

"We will mitigate the problem before it reaches the police outside," said Carreras during the City Council meeting.

Tom Devine, who operates Two Steps Downtown Grill on Ives Street, favors the new ordinance, and Andrea Gartner, executive director of CityCenter Danbury, helped the city craft the ordinance changes over the last several years.

bordwithbs December 07, 2012 at 12:07 PM
Still ignorant after typing that? Read the ordinance, understand what is being proposed?
Sid December 07, 2012 at 03:43 PM
Jim Downtown has been hit because of the 08 recession. Many of the shops were and are owned by local immigrants. They have a loyal following and some have been able to weather the storm because of that. But the groups most hit by the recession were the same immigrants who frequented those places. Many left, others can't afford to go out and others are frankly afraid to go out lest they get scooped up by ICE for BWB. Small businesses are usually the first to go in severe recessions, especially when your customers are all leaving. I think another part of the problem is that the downtown has been sort of neglected and growth has been scattershot. The administration has seemed to focus on various nodes around town like the West Side and along Newtown Road. The West Side in particular has grown exponentially with the new base at Lee Farms, Whole Foods at Marcus Dairy, the Mall expansion, Rivington, Mill Plain, the car dealerships by the airport, the Matrix Center (old Union Carbide site) and so on. Downtown not so much. Some senior housing, some medical, not much else. BRT project on Kennedy is going nowhere. There is no big draw that would attract more than niche groups of people. Downtown needs foot traffic. People that will park in the garage and walk up and down Main Street. Hopefully with some night clubs opening up it will help get some bar hoppers out, bring some much needed vitality back to the Dining and Entertainment district.
Sid December 07, 2012 at 04:22 PM
In my non expert opinion, I think Danbury should be looking at South Norwalk or Stamford to get an idea of more successful downtowns. Danbury has some advantages which would enable the downtown to be vibrant with the right focus. Location for one. It's the 7th biggest city in CT but the only one in Western CT. I84 and Rte 7 make it very accessible and downtown is right of exit 5 so it's easy to get to. It's the only game within a 25 mile radius and for many in NW CT or in NY the only place to go for any entertainment. Plus we have a state university downtown. That's where I would focus. Places like Buffalo Wild Wings, Prespa, Spasi, Molly Darcy have decent traffic but there is nothing like that downtown. Heck downtown doesn't even have a real coffee place like Molten Java. Seattle Expresso was the last real place as far as I recall. There is no more pool halls, no place for entertainment other than the Ice Arena. Danbury has a very talented and vibrant local music scene but few real places for it to thrive. It needs more restaurants, nigh clubs and places for adults to hang out at night and during the day. That's why I suggested restaurants with outdoor seating. Bring some of the life out onto the sidewalks, especially in the summer. After that I'd focus on retail. At $10 a sq ft it should't be hard to get large retailers to open satellite shops downtown. That way you could park your car, shop and eat in a safe community.
Sid December 07, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Oh no a random drive by buttocks shooting. I can see how the downtown changes after that. I mean nobody wants to get shot in the rear. Fortunately, stuff like that is very rare. I ride bikes with my son up and down Main Street to Rogers Park and Tarrywile and various other places and have yet to get shot in the rear or any other place. Danbury is one of the safest places around as far as big cities go so frankly I don't know where this fear is coming from. Maybe you're just afraid of the dark and it has nothing to do with downtown or the people.
stinie January 06, 2013 at 05:40 PM
There used to be a bar there in the 90's and it was great with no fights!

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