Updated 04/06/2012 05:53 PM
Business leaders worried nightlife debate is hurting Saratoga Springs
As the debate about Saratoga Springs nightlife continues, some community leaders are concerned about tarnishing the Spa City's image. YNN's C.J. Spang has the story.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- Saratoga Springs depends on its tourism industry. After all, it's known as the "Summer Place to Be." But some business leaders are concerned visitors might stay away based on the latest Spa City headlines.
"We don't need negative publicity," said Saratoga Springs Downtown Business Association President Jeff Clark. "We're not going to solve anything by going on regional radio stations or getting articles in the Wall Street Journal, national media, stating we're dangerous, unsafe or frightening."
The perceived negative publicity stems from Public Safety Commissioner Chris Mathiesen's efforts to curb what he has described as dangerous and out of control behavior downtown during late night and early-morning hours. He's also proposing to move up last call to 3 a.m.
"I don't think the image is being harmed when we are trying to rectify a problem," Mathiesen said. "That's not harming the image. If we didn't care or if we were perfectly happy to let this go or let this continue. I think that would harm the image of the city."
Both Mathiesen and business leaders we talked with say Saratoga Springs is a safe place, despite the headline-grabbing incidents.
"Saratoga Springs is a very pleasant, safe place to be most of the time," Mathiesen said. "This is something that occurs late at night and it's only certain individuals that are involved in this."
"The incidents we've had on Caroline Street specifically have been isolated," Clark said. "While they're regrettable, crime does happen. But here in Saratoga, we're blessed. We have a great town and we have a very safe town too."
Commissioner Mathiesen's efforts to move up last call may have hit a snag. He tells us the State Liquor Authority, which has to approve changes in last call hours, has informally said the Alcoholic Beverage Control laws may not allow municipalities to have different last call hour than the rest of the county. Mathiesen says he's waiting for further clarification and will potentially look into other options regarding city nightlife if that turns out to be the case.