Visitors and residents of Douglasville will soon be able to leave downtown restaurants with beer and wine in a to-go cup, provided they remain within the specified entertainment district.
The City Council voted on Monday to designate the Douglasville downtown business district ranging from the Station Loft Works building, located at 12461 Veterans Memorial Highway, eastbound ending at Campbellton Street as the east/west boundaries of the Entertainment District.
The north/south boundaries of the Entertainment District include Veterans Memorial Highway at the north end and Church Street at the south end. The Entertainment District includes Gabe’s Downtown and the Douglasville Conference Center, which are both located on the south side of Church Street. The Entertainment District does not include the downtown parking deck, nor does it allow any alcohol beyond the sidewalks.
Beverages are limited to only beer and wine and must be purchased from a business within the Entertainment District with an alcohol pouring license. Individuals are not allowed to bring and consume their own beverages.
The Council asked Chief of Police, Gary Sparks, to contact other cities who have adopted similar ordinances to get a sense of what enforcement difficulties are present.
“Once the legislation is made, there might be some initial issues, but nothing out of the ordinary,” Sparks said, “most of the cities I talked to really don’t have any issues.”
Upon implementation, designated plastic cups, no larger than 16 ounces in capacity for beer and five ounces in capacity for wine, will be the only approved way to legally consume alcohol in the Entertainment District.
“The purpose of the Entertainment District is for economic development and tourism,” Community and Economic Development Committee Chairman and Mayor Pro Tem Richard Segal explained during Thursday night’s work session. “We hope to attract more visitors downtown, encourage longer visits, and attract more businesses. This is a part of the implementation of our Downtown Master Plan. It is not about alcohol for the sake of alcohol.”
Mr. Segal noted at Monday’s meeting that the entertainment district is only in effect on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, or if there is an event occurring on any other day. The event organizer would be able to request a permit to activate the Entertainment District for the event.
Although a symbol of progress for the City, it is not without emotion. Mr. Segal explained that the adoption of the Entertainment District is “kind of bittersweet because I know that it was one of the big initiatives that Mike Miller had in his vision for downtown Douglasville. We weren’t able do it while he was here, but we did it today.” The Council action came the day before the special election to fill Mr. Miller’s vacated council seat.
The City has identified July 3rd as the target date for the Entertainment District to take full effect. Further outreach and coordination efforts with local businesses needs to take place, in addition to the creation of signage and marking of the official boundaries.
Those boundary maps will be posted on the City’s website, www.DouglasvilleGA.gov, and made available to all area businesses.