While at gathers signatures after gunshots were fired outside the restaurant last week, the bar's owners are making a request: Let us be a part of the solution.
“As business owners and longtime residents of Birmingham, we are dedicated to being a major part of the solution,” Bethany Spadafore, wife of South co-owner Joseph Spadafore, said in a recent statement.
“So instead of blaming other businesses for an issue that is not just isolated to one business or one location in the city, we are working towards a solution.”
The statement was released in response to an April 2 incident outside South, during which a in the midst of a fight after the bar closed.
The Spadafores, as well as South co-owners Steve and Emily Puertas, were at the public comment session during Monday night's meeting of the Birmingham City Commission.
During that meeting, a small group of residents stayed at City Hall long past 11 p.m. to voice their concerns as well as make impassioned comments against .
City begins investigation of incidents at South
on Tuesday evening. City Manager Bob Bruner said police and the City Attorney's Office will be looking at the number of incidents at South, as well as the number of times police have made contact with either the restaurant or its patrons.
Should the investigation reveal a pattern of conduct, a hearing could be held and the city may request that the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) revoke South Bar's liquor license.
To some residents who attended the meeting Monday night, revoking South Bar's liquor license seemed like it might not be a bad idea.
Resident claims: 'This is not Birmingham'
Retired Seaholm history teacher and longtime Birmingham resident Mary Ryan Taras said the incident at South is yet another example of the shocking behavior seen more frequently now in Birmingham.
"This dramatic decline in civility in this community ... is leading us to a more unsafe community," she said.
Establishments like South do make Birmingham a destination, Taras conceded, but she asked: Is that what Birmingham wants to be, a destination instead of a community?
"I've known Birmingham for a long time and this is not Birmingham," she said.
South owners suggest safety task force
However, attorney Kelly Allen, who represents the Spadores and Puertas, said the city should look at all the facts during its investigation and consider the issue as a whole.
"There is no way (South) could have prevented this," she said. "This is not just South. This is a societal problem. This is an individual problem. ... It's wrong trying to blame one business."
Bethany Spadafore said Monday night that South wants to help put an end to the violent behavior and suggested a community task force on public safety.
"Safety is something we take very seriously and as a community, we need to figure this out," she said.