Mayor Walsh’s Late-Night Task Force Will Continue to Meet
Mayor Marty Walsh’s proposal to keep bars open later was all but stomped to oblivion by elected officials on Beacon Hill, but that doesn’t mean his assembled Late-Night Task Force is ready to throw in the towel just yet.
According to Kate Norton, a spokesperson from the mayor’s office, the team of leaders hand-picked to figure out ways officials could pump excitement into the city’s after-hours scene is still going to meet regularly and pitch alternative proposals to improve the lives of residents and visitors.
“They are definitely going to keep meeting,” said Norton. “There are a few others things we are focused on, it wasn’t just about keeping bars open.”
Norton said the Late-Night Task Force is focused on a number of initiatives relative to making Boston a vibrant, cosmopolitan city, such as extending the hours of restaurants—sans booze—and keeping gyms open a bit later. Norton said the alternative plans might not require the approval of the state legislature, and could been done through amending city ordinances. “The public push has been around [keeping bars open later], but now we have to do outreach about what other opportunities there could be,” she said.
On Sunday night, a compromise state budget was void of a provision floated by Walsh that would have allowed Boston to keep liquor flowing in bars and restaurants well beyond the current hours for last call. Walsh had been pushing for the measure since March, and included the idea in his first speech to the Boston Municipal Research Bureau, during their annual meeting at the Seaport Hotel.
To achieve this goal, the mayor convened the Task Force, made up of students, business leaders, and community organizations, and asked them to find a neighborhood that would be best served by extended bar hours without necessarily disturbing surrounding residents. Unfortunately, the task force’s main selling point was sidelined, but Norton said Walsh’s administration would reconsider the notion come the next budget discussion in January.
“It’s certainly something that we would have like to have seen,” said Norton. “But we will keep looking at it.”