NEW SHOREHAM, R.I. (WPRI) — The New Shoreham Town Council voted unanimously to schedule a hearing to discuss Ballard’s Beach Resort’s liquor and entertainment licenses Thursday.
The decision follows a tumultuous evening that included a pair of fights: one during a festival at Ballard’s and another on the Block Island Ferry.
Police said one person was arrested when a fight broke out on the dance floor at Ballard’s Monday afternoon, and seven others were taken into custody after a brawl on the ferry later that night.
Two people were transported to the hospital with minor injuries once the ferry docked in Point Judith.
It is unclear at this time if the fight on the ferry is connected to the fight at Ballard’s.
“It’s saddening, it’s sickening and we’re determined to get to the bottom of this and make some changes,” Councilor Andre Boudreau said.
“We have to clearly decide and declare who we are, what we stand for, what our community is, and frankly, when enough is enough,” Councilor Keith Stover added.
Residents showed up for Thursday’s New Shoreham Town Council meeting in droves. New Shoreham Town Hall was so packed that the front doors were left open and chairs were placed on the lawn for those who couldn’t fit inside the building.
One by one, residents voiced their concerns regarding safety and security on the island.
“I love this place more than anything and to see this kind of behavior is appalling,” one resident said. “There is something we can do about this.”
Earlier this week, Ballard’s canceled its Roots & Rhythm Festival that was scheduled for Aug. 21 as it reevaluates hosting concerts and other large events.
Ballard’s owner Steven Filippi did not attend Thursday night’s meeting, which left many residents scratching their heads.
“That’s cowardly,” one resident said. “If it’s him going out of business, this island would be a better place. I hate to say it.”
The hearing regarding Ballard’s licenses is scheduled for Aug. 22.
“The Council and the community were united in feeling that the dangerous and offensive behaviors witnessed by our residents rose to a level requiring very clear enforcement action. The decision to move forward in this manner is consistent with the state statues governing the licensure of liquor-serving establishments, which guarantee due process,” the town council wrote in a statement.
The town council also plans to meet with representatives from Interstate Navigation, the company that operates the Block Island Ferry, to learn more about what happened over the weekend.
Counselors also asked anyone who witnessed the incident firsthand to consider submitting testimony for the hearing. Those who are interested can contact the town clerk at firstname.lastname@example.org.