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City commission debates open containers

The city is trying to decide if it will allow alcoholic drinks outside at events.
Amos Newsome, City Commissioner Dist. 2, says allowing open containers could have a negative effect on the city's quality of life.
Amos Newsome, City Commissioner Dist. 2, says allowing open containers could have a negative effect on the city's quality of life.
Jill Williams, Executive Director of The Downtown Group, says creating an entertainment district and allowing open containers will attract more people to the city and provide them with more options.
Jill Williams, Executive Director of The Downtown Group, says creating an entertainment district and allowing open containers will attract more people to the city and provide them with more options.


The Downtown Group is proposing an entertainment district.  It would let people walk down the street with an open bottle of booze.

 

"You've got to be very careful that, when you create an atmosphere around the city that is open for criticism by those maybe that are not from here, those that are passing through, or those that might pass through," said District 2 City Commissioner Amos Newsome.

 

The Downtown Group says other cities allow the same thing to go on, and there have been no major problems with it.

 

"We just want to be able to showcase, get as much attendance as possible, and really give people the opportunity to do what they want to do," Jill Williams, Executive Director of The Downtown Group, said.

 

The proposal comes just days before hundreds are expected to visit Dothan.

 

They'll be here for a Chinese manufacturing symposium.  But one commissioner said the issue here is only one thing: not enough information right now to allow open containers on the street.

 

"We are not prepared, in our family values and our culture here, in our operational with our forward movement with our downtown, to move forward with that kind of guesswork,” said Newsome.

 

Under the proposal, police would have to issue a permit, and those hosting events would have to pay for police and fire protection. They would also have to have liability insurance.

 

"In most parts of the country, when you have outdoor festivals, there is at least, if not the whole area, there are designated areas where people can consume adult beverages.  But I also understand there are people that have problems with that," City Manager Mike West said.

 

Commissioners could decide the measure when it meets next week.


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