By JAMES SWIFT
A dialogue on a attainable downtown leisure district drew a big crowd to Thursday night’s Cartersville Metropolis Council assembly — with the vast majority of audio system adamantly against the concept.
Much like areas in Acworth, Kennesaw and Woodstock, the proposed district would enable people to hold and eat alcoholic drinks inside a specified boundary.
“Council had entertained this ordinance up to now, however it by no means obtained any traction,” mentioned Cartersville Metropolis Councilman Jayce Stepp. “Clearly, we have now pageant zones that I feel have gone fairly nicely … that’s principally a mapped out space that permits open container inside that space.”
At this level, nevertheless, he famous there isn’t a outlined or agreed-upon map for what the zone would encompass — nor a consensus on what days of the week such a district can be activated.
“Not solely would we prohibit the place it may be, not simply make it all the downtown, however possibly sure instances,” Stepp mentioned. “So that may be open to dialogue.”
Cartersville Assistant Metropolis Lawyer Keith Lovell mentioned the attainable ramifications of an leisure district being accredited by the council.
“If the map ya’ll in the end selected included all the realm that the Downtown Improvement Authority (DDA) has allowed to have a pageant in, then sure, it will eradicate the pageant zone as one thing to have,” he mentioned. “It’ll depend upon what ya’ll in the end determine in respect to the boundaries and deadlines, whether or not the DDA would really feel after that they’d nonetheless wish to have festivals exterior that space and out of doors that point.”
Councilman Cary Roth mentioned that he had issues about how nicely the boundaries have been enforced at earlier downtown festivals permitting open containers.
“That is most likely not the route I might see our Metropolis going,” he mentioned. “I feel it has rather a lot to do with the exercise of downtown, that it adjustments the character of our downtown if we went this route.”
Roughly a dozen individuals took to the rostrum to voice their ideas on the proposal.
“Persons are going to be carrying alcohol from place to put to put all through the map,” mentioned Grady Clark, pastor of Calvary Chapel River Oaks off Nelson Road. “However they’re not going to remain inside that map after they end that final drink, they’re going to wherever their vehicles are parked.”
Moreover, he mentioned he had issues about who the proposal might draw to the downtown space.
“If it’s referred to as an leisure zone, it ought to actually be referred to as an grownup beverage zone,” he mentioned. “That’s actually the change that you simply’re making, it has nothing to do with leisure.”
Bobby Lawrence, of Cartersville’s Anchor Ministries, mentioned he was against “each inch” of the proposal. He mentioned he already sees public drunkenness “seven days per week, 24 hours” alongside the downtown hall.
“You’ve obtained anyone residing proper there on the depot on the concrete there, I see alcoholics throughout,” he instructed the council. “You promote alcohol, you reap drunks.”
Taylorsville resident Kenneth Dowdy mentioned he had two daughters who labored at eating places close to Foremost Road. He instructed council members he had issues about intoxicated pedestrian and drivers.
“It’s not if it occurs, it’s when it occurs,” he mentioned. “Everybody of us is taking a look at this from an financial standpoint, however man, what does your coronary heart say? What if it was your spouse, what if it was your husband who hit anyone that stepped out in entrance of them?”
A number of downtown enterprise house owners additionally voiced opposition to the leisure district proposal.
“Public drunkenness is one thing that we frequently cope with,” mentioned Coconuts co-owner Jennifer Capes. “Monday, we had an inebriated gents … he was weaving out and in of vehicles in our drive-thru.”
She instructed council members she was involved about massive — and probably rowdy — teams of revelers detracting from her enterprise’ family-friendly ambiance.
“Are we going to have individuals late at evening who’re stumbling about our parking heaps, are we going to have people who find themselves sitting down at our tables and the subsequent morning I’m going to have to scrub up damaged beer bottles, trash that’s laid out in all places?” she mentioned.
One other downtown enterprise proprietor, Sam Franklin, equally mentioned he was apprehensive concerning the leisure district’s ramifications.
“There’s numerous good intentions, there’s numerous accountable individuals, however I really feel like these sorts of issues encourage individuals to come back who don’t care about Cartersville,” he mentioned. “As a enterprise that falls into an leisure zone that I didn’t ask to be part of, it issues me with what I’ll should cope with as a downtown enterprise, and conduct that’s related to alcohol.”
Nor had been some downtown residents happy by the proposal.
Janet Thornbrough instructed council members that two years in the past, lights exterior her residence had been broken by two pub crawl members.
“That parking zone again there, behind all these eating places on Foremost Road in the back of our constructing, it’s a wreck,” she mentioned. “You’ll be able to simply look out the window and there’s individuals urinating within the parking zone, there’s all kinds of issues I gained’t go into that go on again there in that parking zone that you may see at any given time.”
Native developer Ron Goss additionally mentioned he had apprehensions about bringing an leisure district to the downtown space.
“You probably have a enterprise now that serves an alcoholic beverage, you will have type of some extent of origin — in the event that they proceed to pour they usually let anyone stroll out that door, they know they’re drunk, they didn’t take duty to name a cab or name 911 they usually go on the market and kill your spouse, you need solutions,” he mentioned. “You probably have this limitless, there’s no technique to monitor free alcohol like this ordinance is speaking about.”
Moreover, he mentioned he’s spoken with a number of downtown companies which have deep issues about littering.
“We’re burdening public works to a sure diploma, and possibly the police, due to our success,” he mentioned. “I don’t assume we have to add this to that.”
In contrast to different cities, Goss mentioned he believes Cartersville already has an genuine, natural downtown space.
“Why would we jeopardize the standard, the bar that we’ve raised?” he mentioned. “Let’s take the downtown financial improvement strategy to determine easy methods to do the suitable issues for downtown, not what we’re proposing right here.”
A couple of attendees at Thursday night’s public assembly, nevertheless, did lend their help to the creation of a downtown leisure zone.
“I felt like I used to be listening to the preamble to a ‘Mad Max’ post-apocalyptic world — damaged glass in all places, trash in all places, individuals vomiting and peeing and doing all this horrible stuff right here,” mentioned Alan Sanders, a member of Cartersville’s Downtown Improvement Authority. “We’ve got our eating places now, we have now our institutions now — individuals can get one, two, 10 drinks inside now.”
He mentioned he believes such an ordinance might present a monetary boon to downtown companies.
“We’re very, very centered on ensuring that we’re doing issues to drive each financial improvement exercise and convey individuals downtown,” he mentioned, “as a result of the extra those that come down, they’re seeing these outlets, possibly, for the primary time they usually’re attempting that restaurant for the primary time.”
Southern Muggs and Hippie Donuts proprietor Jennifer Smith additionally supported the proposal.
“Alcohol, in and of itself, shouldn’t be evil — Jesus served wine, he turned water into wine,” she instructed the council. “We’ve got a chance to be accountable adults … there’s no cause to show to the absolutes on both facet.”
Smith, additionally a member of the Cartersville Alcohol Management Board, mentioned those that “overindulge” are going to take action whatever the Metropolis’s ordinances.
“They’re going to go to a package deal retailer and drink earlier than they go downtown,” she mentioned. “They’re not going to enter a enterprise and overindulge after which go to a different enterprise and overindulge.”
The leisure district proposal, she mentioned, doesn’t characterize an “invitation” for individuals to get intoxicated downtown. Simply because the proposal would enable people to eat alcohol outside, she mentioned, doesn’t imply that these people will eat extra alcohol total.
“It’s an invite for individuals to come back into our downtown space and have an fulfilling expertise,” she mentioned. “It might be good to have a stroll exterior, with a drink that you simply picked up in a neighborhood restaurant, have a seat within the park and end your drink.”
No official actions had been taken on the proposal at Thursday’s assembly. The Cartersville Metropolis Council will resume leisure district discussions at a public assembly scheduled for Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. at 10 North Public Sq..