1st weekend since Memorial Day Jacksonville Beach brawl

Thousands flock to area days after series of fights occur

By Ashley Harding - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. - Several days after a series of fights rocked Jacksonville Beach over the Memorial Day weekend, thousands are flocking to the area.

Some businesses along the beach are happy to report that things seem to be looking up, and they want to keep it up for the future.

One of those businesses that was forced to close early was the Blue Water Island Grill, located just four blocks from where it all happened.

"I thought I would see a bit of a drop off, but I haven't," said General Manager Jeff Montello.

The general manager said despite what's happened, things are going well business-wise.

"It's been steady this week. Usually during the week we don't have any problems whatsoever," said Montello. "Locals are coming out, people from town coming out to eat, drink, and enjoy the beach."

Since the fight broke out, some residents have called out for more police presence on the streets. Some beach-goers we've spoken to said they're glad to have more officers. Others said too many times, Jax Beach police seem to be outnumbered.

"You see blatant violations of the law near police officers, but there's not much they can do," Montello said. "When they're outnumbered that many times, they're responding to calls anywhere on any part of the strip or on any other part of the beach."

Sunday afternoon, dozens will walk along the pier against violence. It's a message some hope will be heard loud and clear.

"We need people to understand that we're trying make this a nice place," said Montello. "You know, people do want to come down here and party and drink and they want to go and enjoy the sun. But at the same time, there is still families here."

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