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Open containers of alcohol may soon be allowed outside in downtown Dothan

The Downtown Group is asking city commissioners to pass an ordinance that would allow the open containers of alcohol to be taken outside.
If approved, the ordinance would allow people to carry open containers of alcohol outside during events that are approved by the City Commission.
If approved, the ordinance would allow people to carry open containers of alcohol outside during events that are approved by the City Commission.
I think it's something that we should seriously consider," said Dothan Mayor Mike Schmitz.
I think it's something that we should seriously consider," said Dothan Mayor Mike Schmitz.

Open alcohol containers may soon be allowed in downtown Dothan. The Downtown Group is asking city commissioners to pass an ordinance that would allow the open containers of alcohol to be taken outside.

"This would not be a 365 day 24 hour 7 days a week ordinance. It's not going to be Bourbon Street,” said Jill Williams, the Executive Director of The Downtown Group.

 If approved, the ordinance would allow people to carry open containers of alcohol outside during events that are approved by the city commission. They would only be allowed in the entertainment district of downtown Dothan and only in areas where traffic is barricaded.

"It's not a brown bag ordinance. It's an ordinance that allows current established liquor license holders to be able to sell to consumers in a container that's not glass and they'll be able to walk around with it just during events," said Williams.

She says the impact of the open container ordinance would affect more than just the night life.

"We feel like it will really showcase downtown. The more that people come to events and have a good time the more they're going to come back and the more they're going to see the opportunities downtown, the more they're going to invest and the move they're going to be able to walk around and enjoy a more livable vibrant downtown again," said Williams.

But not everyone agrees.

We spoke with local pastors today. They did not want to go on camera to discuss the issue but they did say they would likely appear at the commission meeting when this ordinance is voted on to oppose it. Mayor Mike Schmitz says he understands that not everyone will support the ordinance, but it's something he will seriously consider

"I know other communities have done it. One of the things that I've asked during our manufacturing symposium is I would like to have the community join our guests from China on Foster Street and that's one of the reasons that they're looking at this plus Foster Fest down the road. I think it's something that we should seriously consider," said Schmitz.

The ordinance has not yet been voted on but it was proposed over a year ago but was delayed until now by the supporting group. Commissioners could vote on this ordinance as soon as the middle of February.

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