Posted by: thescoundrel | October 15, 2008

The Rock Island District – Party On

I have been following a discussion over on QCOnline where current Rock Island Mayor Mark Schwiebert has taken a stance against those suggesting that the Rock Island District close the bars earlier. I have seen and can empathize with both sides of the equation up close and personal. I worked (and I still go out and play there once in awhile) in The District for five years. For the most part it is just one big party all night long. It is a great place for people to go out, socialize and have fun. The overwhelming majority of people partying in The District pose no real problems other than as potential drunk drivers. Which starts the reasons I could see closing early. Drunken Drivers is why I was more than surprised when the city started making the food stands close down early, hoping to push the wandering party goers out of the area faster. In my estimation all that has done is increase the likelihood of drunk driving escapades. Perhaps they were looking for more traffic offense revenues from the move–> as the police often sit in squads around 17th St, Second and Third avenues around closing times and always seem to nab several drunk drivers. I have lost track of the amount of drivers that I have witnessed go up 17th St. from the two-way and enter the one-way from the wrong direction. Only a few of those I have observed were ever caught. Another problem is once the booze starts making some of the individuals feel bulletproof and violence does erupt at times. In the five years I worked in the District there were several fights break out, one stabbing, one person hit with a crowbar(?) and one person killed a few blocks away (though to my understanding it was not The District related). And in those five years there were several incidents with drunken guys trying to challenge me to prove their manhood. You just pat them on the head send them on their way or if necessary call the police and let the drunk sleep it off in the RI Co. drunk tank. Also having lived near several bars in my lifetime I can understand why nearby homeowners would love to see bars closed early, especially if they have to work the next morning. But the nearest homes are several blocks away from the District. Also if you add up all the negative incidents I witnessed during my five years working in The District: the bad events only includes just a small fraction of the people I saw entering and leaving the district. And the things I saw happen could just have well happened even if the bars had closed an hour earlier. In fact if you consider New Years Eve when the bars all stay open later and the large crowds are all ringing in the New Year; the events did not seem to be any worse than normal. My guess is that closing the bars an hour earlier is probably not going to make any significant difference in rowdiness, violence or even drunken driving. It would just mean that the negative events would happen a little earlier so security could go home a little earlier. So I guess in my final analysis I would tend to agree with Mayor Mark Schwiebert and question the advantages of closing up shop in The District one hour earlier. In fact my recommendation would be add back hours for the food stands and let the people eat, find ways to help them relax and slowly mingle away from the area with food in their stomachs while giving them a chance to sober up. I would say to the City of Rock Island let the revelers party-on to the normal times. Well except for Woody, he was not violent but there was a real nuisance if I ever met one.  That man should have been sent home before the bars opened. I think he had all the local cab drivers seething when they had to pick him up.



  1. we have recently been going down to the district more. i enjoy the musical acts that ribco brings in. (can’t miss the travoltas, thats for sure!)

    we are pretty tame, have a few drinks, listen to music and get out at a reasonable hour. but i have not seen anyone that makes me think the area is out of control or needs to shut down earlier. if anything, i enjoy that it is open so late. even if it screws up my sleep cycle all week, its kinda nice to be out late once in a while. as you noted, it seems like most of the people down there are of this mold. sure there’s trouble makers in every bunch, but at least the police are generally down there anyways keeping a handle on things.

    i have not looked at the debate going on but i would hope that people are keeping things in perspective. but i guess this is the internet. not likely for that to happen…

  2. We don’t see the reasoning behind this. Seems like heavy drinkers would just move to a bar that stays open later. It could actually cause more problems for other parts of town.

  3. Robbie most people that I know that attend the district are just out for a night of fun. There are some of them over-consume on the alcohol. Which is why I would like to see food made more readily available and run past bar closing times. I think mostly they create worry about losing group control with such a large exodus.

    That is the problem Cruiser. The hardcore drunks and the rowdies will just go elsewhere. At least the District is several blocks away from residential areas. I would rather see them wandering around the District than out driving and looking for drinks and trouble elsewhere.

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