EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (KMOX) — East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks says keeping nightclubs open until 5:30 a.m. is about jobs and identity.
“Entertainment is a tourist attraction, entertainment helps to bring commerce, we need something to drive some dollars here in East St. Louis,” Parks told citizens in his State of the City address Thursday night.
To get more money pumping through the city, Parks laid out his vision for a Rivers Edge Entertainment District, which he says would also include a T.G.I. Fridays, Chuck-E-Cheese, golf course, amusement park, museum and more.
But the early-morning clubs are what St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin are focused on. They sent a letter to Mayor Parks expressing their shock and disappointment. They said the city made progress when it rolled back closing times to 2 a.m. weekdays and 3 a.m. weekends.
Mayor Parks says that move cost the city 150 jobs.
He does acknowledges, however, fears of violence, and says he believes having all of the clubs clustered in one central district would make law enforcement efforts easier.
“It’s not just about clubs being open all night, that’s what some would like to make it,” said Parks. “It’s anything but that. It gives an opportunity for us to do something special with entertainment.”