VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - A violent incident in April at the Oceanfront still has local business owners concerned about rowdy crowds on weekends. Friday night a group of those concerned took a stroll to gage the safety of the resort area after dark.
Kathy Grissom is in her thirteenth year of running Pirate's Paradise Mini-golf, one of the many businesses that stay open late at night at the Oceanfront. She says some of the proposed ideas to keep crowds under control aren't the best for business.
One of those ideas was proposed earlier this week -- the Virginia Beach Hotel-Motel Association suggested city officials close parking lots and garages at 11 p.m.
"We only have three months to make our money for the year. That's it. That would kill our business," Grissom said. "It would be a source of revenue that directly affects everybody."
On the heels of April's college beach weekend -- where multiple people were robbed, shot or stabbed -- there has been talk whether the beach is still safe for families.The thought behind closing public parking is that it would control the perceived negative influence from coming down to the Oceanfront late at night.
"The young people that come out to party are going to come out to party and have done so for 20 years," Grissom said.
But those who are for closing parking earlier say if Virginia Beach gets a negative reputation, families might not still come to visit.
"There's concern's on both sides," said Mike Eason with Virginia Beach Resort Management. "Do you close it or don't you close it?"
Eason says making that decision will not be easy. There is a lot at stake, including revenue for the parking lots and businesses.
"What we are doing at this point is we are counting cars coming into the lot after 11 o'clock, trying to determine what the impact would be," he said.
That count will continue the rest of July.
"I don't understand how that will benefit any of us," Grissom said. "If you want us to pay tax dollars, we got to bring in some revenue here."
Friday night, the Virginia Beach Resort Advisory Commission got together to tour Oceanfront at night. The group, who reports directly to City Council, wants to get a first hand look at what goes down after dark.
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