Downtown Beaufort businesses and residents say it’s too quiet

Main Street Beaufort opens discussion to make Downtown Beaufort more vibrant, with nightlife and parking

BEAUFORT, Sc. (WSAV) – Downtown Beaufort is one of the Lowcountry’s popular tourist spots, but business owners and residents say the area could use a little more noise.

“Nightlife is part of what makes Beaufort or any tourist town, or any downtown area vibrant and important,” said Eric Longo, owner of Longo Gallery downtown.

Nightlife in Downtown Beaufort has been a contentious topic for a while now…

“We’ve had some complaints about things going late and I don’t believe they go too late. I believe that’s part of our night light and that’s what people come for,” said Carol Helmly, owner of It’s Me Fashions.

In past months, a Bay Street resident tried to stop the renewal of the popular Hemingway’s liquor license– claiming the restaurant was too loud and not good for the community.

“I don’t know if he’s against having a good time at night, or what his agenda is, but it’s disappointing one person can make so much trouble,” said Longo.

While Hemingway’s has a temporary liquor license for now, many say the city’s noise ordinance has changed the downtown life.

“You used to have on Thursday nights, a great dance night, where a lot of young people would come and have a great time,” said Longo.

“Back in the day, we didn’t have the noise ordinance …  Now a lot of the bars, the ‘clubs’, and restaurants kind of have to close, shut down a little early, and they can’t cater to the young crowd as much as they used to be able to,” said Ricardo Kaiser, a former marine at MCAS Beaufort, “Residents of Beaufort, South Carolina, we feel like we’re missing out a little bit.”

Nightlife is just one of the topics of discussion at a forum Monday hosted by Main Street Beaufort with Beaufort Chamber of Commerce. Their goal is to hear what locals think will bring more life to downtown – highlighting entertainment and parking.

“Parking is a hair of an issue. They’re real quick to ticket you if you go over by a minute,” said Anna Goodenough who grew up in Beaufort.

“The short time on the meters gives a lot of folks a ticket and that’s a bad taste when you have a business on Bay Street. It’s very hard within two hours to shop a little and go have lunch or dinner,” said Jesse Yobb, owner of Something For Everyone

Most say allowing a little late noise and free parking would encourage the great things this end of the county has to offer.

“love Beaufort the way it is and I think people need to sort of relax and let Beaufort take its own pace,” said Goodenough.

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