South Street businesses struggle with police presence and road closures affecting business

After recent violence, including a mass shooting, security is in place on South Street. The community is divided on how long additional security measures should continue.

It’s Thursday and the Meet Me signs on South Street are outside businesses.

“It’s an invitation to see our vibrant community,” Dana Feinberg said.

The goal is to attract more customers and start the weekend by promising discounts every Thursday. Feinberg is with the South Street Main House District. “Helping people realize that there are new businesses opening every week on South Street in and around the district,” she said.

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But there are literally some barriers that keep customers away. In fact, innumerable metal rails will block the road ready to control and disrupt traffic.

Business owner Spoony O’Neill said O’Neill’s Pub has “definitely made a big improvement in terms of safety since the shooting.” He’s talking about road closures on certain days and times and increased police presence following a June shooting that left two dead and more than a dozen injured.

“Sometimes I wonder if there are too many police here? Yes. Does it stop people from coming down here? Yes,” he said.

And then there’s road closures. “We get boxed in and people can’t even get to us,” O’Neill said.

Samantha Shaw is the owner of The Sam Shaw Deal. “It definitely slowed things down,” Shaw said. While the security measures are mostly here, she doesn’t hang around like bars and restaurants. But, Meet Me on South Street will be open on Thursdays.

“It has to be down here. Should it be overloaded to the point where it doesn’t block people? I don’t think so. There has to be a middle ground somewhere,” she said.

Police would not say how long the heightened security on South Street would remain, but said they were continuing to work with the Main House District Chamber of Commerce and the community to ensure a safe environment.

Visit the “Meet Me on South Street” website for a list of all participating businesses and featured promotions.

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