Grant’s Lounge owner calling for more law enforcement presence on Poplar Street
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The owner of Grant’s Lounge in downtown Macon is calling for a stronger law enforcement presence on Poplar Street, this after a shooting happened there early Saturday morning.
All is quiet in front of Grant’s Lounge on Poplar Street, but that wasn’t the case early Saturday morning.
“They squared up in the middle of the street and began to fight,” Mel Howard, the operations manager of the bar said.
Shots were fired and five people were injured. Bibb deputies arrested 37-year-old Jamel Ramon Nolton.
It was a scary scene the owner of the bar believes could have been prevented.
“On First Fridays there are usually five to seven police cars on Cherry Street but no police presence here,” Edward Grant Junior said. “If we had police presence here on Friday, we feel like that even would not have occurred.”
That presence comes with a price. Grant says in the past he has hired off-duty deputies as extra security, but that cost him $1,200 a week.
“No one was paying for that on Cherry Street,” Grant said.
But Bibb Sheriff David Davis says he has patrols on Cherry Street because it is the central hub of downtown and an easy location to get anywhere quickly.
“They can go over to Mulberry if they need to, they can go over to Walnut Street if they need to, they can come back over to Poplar Street,” Davis said.
The sheriff adds he hasn’t seen any problems come from Grant’s Lounge until recently and he can’t spend taxpayer dollars because of one incident.
“Do they want to see their tax money being spent to assign deputies to patrol or watch one particular area?” Davis said. “I don’t think the taxpayers would appreciate me dedicating two or three officers for one particular establishment and that’s sort of the break point that we have.”
But Grant believes it’s up to the sheriff’s office to protect his customers once they leave his bar.
“We know how to operate inside of Grant’s, but once it gets to the street there’s not a lot that we can do,” he said. “I’m not blaming anyone. I’m just thinking once we talk, we’ll get a better understanding of what’s needed downtown.”
Grant is meeting with the sheriff’s office later this week to talk about future enforcement and protection plans in that area.
Grant is also implementing new policies. The business will no longer allow “18 to enter, 21 to drink” crowd upstairs at the loft. The downstairs area has always had a 21 or older policy to enter. Beginning this week Grant’s new hours will be 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. with happy hour until 8 p.m.