MARIETTA — The City Council is interested in a trial period for an open container district on the Square, where visitors could walk with their alcoholic beverages in a specified area downtown.
In the council’s Judicial Legislative Committee meeting Tuesday evening, council members agreed to consider a draft ordinance that would provide for a six-month trial of an entertainment district.
The proposal, a third attempt by city officials in three years, is similar to one that had broad support from the council last year. The measure was struck down after Mayor Steve Tumlin vetoed it, and the council didn’t have the votes to override his decision.
On Tuesday the committee, made up of council members Andy Morris, Cheryl Richardson and Joseph Goldstein, unanimously agreed to move the alcohol district forward to the council’s work session Nov. 9.
Richardson and Councilwoman Michelle Cooper Kelly suggested the council discuss the topic again.
“Given the times we are in right now, and especially for our businesses on the Square being able to lure in guests, being able to help those businesses thrive, and just the popularity in our residents wanting to see an open container allowance in our entertainment district, I thought it would be fitting to bring it back for a motion of consideration,” Kelly told the mayor and the rest of the council.
Other council members were largely on board with the idea, though some had questions about the regulations.
Council members have asked city staff to draw up a new map with bigger boundaries than last year’s, which included popular businesses on the Square and some of the surrounding area, including Glover Park Brewery. They have not given specifics on what the new boundaries should be.
Last year, the proposal excluded Glover Park from the entertainment district after some expressed concerns about children in the park. Councilman Grif Chalfant suggested including the park, and the council agreed to include it in the new proposed map.
“I don’t see any sense in restricting, out of this, Glover Park,” he said. “If you’re going to do this, it seems like...you should be able to walk through the Square to go to the other side across the way.”
After Kelly said there had been no issues at city-sponsored events such as Concerts in the Park and Chalktoberfest, where visitors are allowed to carry alcohol around, Councilman Reggie Copeland asked Marietta Police Maj. Jake King about the events. King estimated that in the past decade, three or four people were arrested on alcohol-related charges at a city event.
“Most of the time, it’s dealing with other issues. We’ve had domestic issues and stuff like that, but public drunk and dealing with alcohol are very, very rare,” he said.
In another change from last year’s proposal, a stipulation that drinks be in clear plastic cups has been held off for discussion at the council’s work session.
The mayor and council will discuss the topic again at its next work session at 5:15 p.m. on Nov. 9 in the council chambers at City Hall, 205 Lawrence St. in Marietta. If it moves forward there, it will be on the agenda at a City Council meeting Nov. 11. If approved next month, the trial period could start in December.