TODAY'S QUESTION: Should the city allow street closures for for-profit businesses?

Monday, August 2, 2010 | 12:19 p.m. CDT; updated 4:57 p.m. CDT, Monday, August 2, 2010

COLUMBIA — The city's street-closure ordinance is under fire from members of the downtown business community who say it's being misused by some businesses at the expense of others.

In an e-mail circulated among dozens of downtown business and property owners and city officials, Julie Rader called for a rewrite of the ordinance that would allow street closures only for special and unique events being held downtown.

"I have a problem with street closures for any for-profit business," said Rader, co-owner of Bengal's Bar & Grill, in an article from the Columbia Tribune.

Rader's criticism comes after a request from Harpo's co-owner Kevin Fitzpatrick to close Cherry Street between Ninth and Tenth streets and to waive the open-container ordinance during MU's six home football games this fall.

Rader said she opposes this request because it would give Harpo's expanded capacity, drawing customers away from other downtown bars and thus giving Harpo's an "unfair financial advantage," according to the Tribune's article.

But Fitzpatrick said he sees things differently.

"We think the pie will actually grow rather than us taking a bigger piece of it," he said in the Tribune's article, explaining that outdoor events can be good for all businesses in the area.

If Fitzpatrick's request is approved, Rader said she and other business owners will make similar requests for game-day street closures outside their establishments.

Fitzpatrick's request will be considered at Monday's City Council meeting.

Should the city grant requests like Fitzpatrick's and allow street closures for for-profit businesses?

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Carlos Sanchez August 2, 2010 | 2:31 p.m.

No they should not.

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