Traverse City Woman Asking for Temporary Halt on New Liquor Licenses

“I think we’re overdoing it, I think we need to step back and take a look at that.”

Trouble is brewing outside some downtown Traverse City bars, and the calls to address the problem is getting louder.

With three bars right next to each other on Union Street, the bar traffic spills out onto the sidewalks.

That’s causing concerns for neighboring businesses and people who live nearby.

It’s quiet on a Tuesday, but downtown’s Union Street is a popular place for bar hopping on weekend nights.

“It was just really vile and really bad,” Cindy Anderson said.

Anderson says it’s gotten out of hand, with drunk patrons getting in fights and verbally attacking passers-by.

“I’m a granny, and some vile things were said to me with my grandkids in hand,” she said.

Anderson took her concerns to the Traverse City commission Monday night.

“Why is it OK we can have drunk people beating each other up, throwing up, and defecating in our streets,” she asked.

She’s calling for a moratorium, or temporary prohibition, on all new liquor licenses. Although there wasn’t a vote on the issue, she got support from commissioner Roger Putman.

“I think it’s incumbent on the bar owners to take a hard look at how they operate, and to measure their responsibility both in and out of the establishment,” Putman said.

Right now Traverse City charges a one time fee for a liquor license application, but that’s one of the many things that could change.

“It’s a 24 hour operation when it comes to being in a downtown. That you do have “live, work, and play,” but you need that balance,” said Jean Derenzy, Downtown Development Authority.

Listed in the proposed city budget, a new city police officer dedicated to downtown.

“It’s not an us-them situation. This is all of us together trying to come up with a solution to allow people to go downtown and feel safe and secure instead of having to take abuse and rude and vile comments,” Putman said.

Local bar owners could not be reached for comment, and neighboring businesses declined to talk on camera out of fear of retaliation.