QUEEN VILLAGE - There is increased security on South Street, after recent violence, including a mass shooting. The community is divided over how long the extra security measures should continue.
It's Thursday and Meet Me on South Street signs are outside businesses.
"It's an invitation to come see our vibrant community," said Dana Feinberg.
The goal is to attract more customers and jumpstart weekend business with the promise of discounts every Thursday. Feinberg is with the South Street Headhouse District. "Helping people to realize there are new businesses opening every single week on South Street on and around the district," she said.
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There are literally some barriers that could be keeping customers away, however. In fact, countless numbers of metal roadblocks line the streets ready to control and cut off traffic.
"Since the shooting, it has definitely been an uptick as far as security," said business Owner Spoonie O’Neal of O’Neals Pub. He’s talking about street closures on certain days and times plus an increased police presence following the June shooting that left two people dead and more than a dozen hurt.
"Do I think at times that there are way too many police down here? Yes. Does it deter people from coming down here? Yes," he said.
And then there’s the street closures. "We get kind of boxed in and people can't even get to us," said O’Neal.
Samantha Shaw owns Sam Shaw's Treatery. "It did slow things down no doubt," said Shaw. She isn't open late like bars and restaurants when the security measures are mostly in place here. But, she will be open on Thursdays during Meet Me On South Street.
"There should be a presence down here. Does it have to be overloaded to the point you're deterring people away? I don't think so. Somewhere there has to be some middle ground," she said.
Police would not say how long the heightened security on South Street will continue, only that they continue working with the Headhouse District Business Association and community to ensure a safe environment.
For a list of all participating business and featured promotion, visit the "Meet Me on South Street" website.