Columbus City Council considering adding city’s first entertainment district

Published: Oct. 25, 2022 at 10:59 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Columbus city council held a packed house this evening. Many business owners and Columbus residents were there to hear about a proposed ordinance allowing people to carry open drinks in public.

Council members spent some time discussing bringing the city’s first entertainment district to Uptown.

A trip to Uptown could become even more exciting for some if city officials approve a proposal to turn part of the area into an entertainment district where people can carry drinks in public. Currently, you cannot leave one business in Uptown with an open drink and go into another.

Police Chief Freddie Blackmon says he’s talked to law enforcement in surrounding areas about the success of such tourist attractions.

“I’ve communicated with Chief of Police in a very similar-situated district where they have a very similar process in place, and it presents less of a challenge for them in Savannah, and I believe we probably may have some similar results here,” said Chief Blackmon.

During Tuesday’s Council meeting, Councilor Mimi Woodson presented a resolution for Highside Market, located on 2nd Avenue and 13th Street to be considered as the location for the city’s first Entertainment District. Part of the resolution included a vote on whether or not customers should be allowed to carry open containers with alcohol.

City officials say they’ve met with various business owners, who share mixed opinions about the project.

“The questions I heard at the 2:00 meeting last week -- many times the answers were, ‘we don’t know. We don’t know the district itself was evolving. We have no idea about the cups situation.’ So, if that’s not clear, how do you know how it will be enforced?” Asked Columbus resident Mollie Smith.

“It bears out in cities like Dunwoody, Conyers, Toccoa, Savannah, Atlanta, Marietta, Cartersville, Phenix City and Opelika -- that they can do this and it succeeds,” said Uptown Columbus business owner Garrett Lawrence.

But overall, many business owners at Monday’s council meeting were in favor of the project.

“I think overwhelmingly, people have been to cities and enjoyed an entertainment district and found it to be something that they would like to see in Uptown,” said Columbus business owner Niki Gedroic.

The project proposal won’t be approved anytime soon. City officials will discuss it again in a year.