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Mark Allen, owner of Lazy Guy Distillery in downtown Kennesaw, arranges bottles of his product behind the bar at his Moon Station Road facility. His establishment is within Kennesaw's proposed "entertainment district" that if ultimately approved would allow adults to carry open containers of alcohol in designated parts of the city. / Staff-Jon Gargis

Kennesaw may soon join Smyrna and Acworth in allowing adults to carry open containers of alcohol in designated parts of the city.

Kennesaw has scheduled two public meetings on the question of creating designated “entertainment districts” where people could stroll about with drinks in hand. The meetings are scheduled for Jan. 7 and 22, and if the response is positive, Mayor Derek Easterling said the council could vote to approve the plan as early as the night of the second meeting.

Smyrna and Acworth have similar districts in their downtowns, and open containers are allowed in spots around SunTrust Park and the Battery.

Easterling said city staff looked at Smyrna and other cities with open container districts to craft its own code.

That code would be virtually the same as Smyrna’s. Under it, establishments could serve drinks of up to 16 ounces in paper or plastic to-go cups. Drinkers would only be allowed one of these cups at a time, and would not be allowed to take it outside of the district’s boundaries.

The mayor and council would have the power to change the boundaries of the district, but city staff has proposed two non-contiguous districts to begin with. The first would be in the downtown near Depot Park and would include restaurants such as Trackside Grill, Bernie’s and the Nest as well as Lazy Guy Distillery, which offers cocktails made with spirits brewed in-house.

It also includes the future site of Creekside, a mixed-use development slated to contain two breweries, a distillery and a public green for social gatherings.

The second district would be near the intersection of Cherokee Street and McCollum Parkway. That’s near the future site of another planned mixed-use development, 68-acre EastPark Village, which would incorporate dining and public spaces among its features. That community was approved in late 2017 and was scheduled to open in 2022.

Easterling said he supports creating the districts to attract new businesses to Kennesaw and to help existing businesses attract customers.

“I think it’s helping the business owners become more adapted to what they want, what customers really want,” Easterling said.

One local business owner, Mark Allen of Lazy Guy Distillery, said he agrees wholeheartedly.

“I support it completely, and it’s been a long time coming,” he said. “There’s a lot of municipalities around us that have it … as long as people are responsible about it, there’s no problem. Look at Acworth … look at Alpharetta, Smyrna, Roswell.”

Those cities all have similar open container districts, and Allen said that makes them attractive to brewers and restauranteurs who are looking to open shop in Cobb.

Easterling said the city consulted with other local business owners in crafting the law, and they all echoed Allen’s sentiments.


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