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A call to change last call

Saratoga Springs nightlife at the root of recent discussion between bar owners, public

Public Safety Commissioner Christian Mathiesen reads from his“diary” that includes a narrative of him witnessing events in the city’s nightlife.

Public Safety Commissioner Christian Mathiesen reads from his“diary” that includes a narrative of him witnessing events in the city’s nightlife. Photo by Julie Cushine-Rigg.

— A near capacity audience gathered for two hours on Tuesday, March 27, at the Saratoga Springs City Hall’s Music Hall at the invitation of Commissioner of Public Safety, Christian Mathiesen for a workshop entitled “Night Life in Saratoga Springs: Is it a Problem?”

Though many issues were discussed, the one that proved to be of greatest interest was a proposal to change the city’s last call from 4 a.m. to3 a.m., a proposal Mathiesen has said has his support. Neighbors to the downtown area, business owners and concerned citizens approached the microphone to voice their thoughts on the matter and some issues connected to it, likenoise.

There was a similar meeting on March 7, coordinated by Lt. John Catone of the Saratoga Springs Police Department, that included bar and restaurant owners, the state department of licensing, and the Prevention Council, among others. Issues of whether or not to have bouncers certified and responsibilities of businesses that serve alcohol were brought to the table.

“We needed to address downtown. … We put together a group of people that hadn’t been done before. We all got a lot of good things out of it. We didn’t address last call, that wasn’t the purpose of the meeting,” said Catone.

Before the public spoke at Tuesday’s meeting, Mathiesen took afew minutes to share some of his own observations. Last June, he set his alarmclock for 3:10 a.m. and drove downtown to check things out for himself.

He read from his first entry into what became a diary of sorts,saying, “I can hear the crowd many blocks before I arrive at Caroline Street…there are many Saratoga Springs police, with one mounted on a horse. Also, there arethree sheriff’s deputy cars, one of which arrives with sirens blaring and oneState Police car. It’s a very large crowd of people, many intoxicated andfilling the entire two blocks of Caroline Street.”

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