Bill taps open-container law as way to get development brewing,alt.business

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Senator's legislation has mixed support from business owners, locals

Better known for loosening inhibitions, booze may soon be used to
lubricate the wheels of economic development in some Ohio communities,
including Cincinnati.

A growing number of cities nationwide, including Memphis, Louisville
and Montgomery, Ala., allow people to openly drink on the streets, a
la New Orleans, to encourage economic development.

Now, a bipartisan “open container” bill giving that option to Ohio
cities is given a good chance of passage in coming months. Sponsoring
state Sen. Eric Kearney, a North Avondale Democrat, is tweaking it
after a committee hearing, with a committee vote likely late this year
or when the General Assembly returns in March.

It has strong support from the Ohio Wholesale Wine and Beer
Association, one of the most powerful lobbies in Columbus, said
Republican Sen. Bill Seitz of Green Township, a bill co-sponsor and
ardent supporter. “It would be the first time in years that I can
enjoy a drink and a cigarette at the same time,” Seitz said.

Memphis’ Beale Street is the ultimate success story. The hotbed of
blues music died in the 1960s as businesses and residents left
downtown for the suburbs, according to Leslie Gower, spokeswoman for
the Downtown Memphis Commission – a scenario that also played out in
Cincinnati. But in the 1980s a revitalization plan closed Beale Street
to traffic and opened it to alcohol-carrying pedestrians, bringing it
back to life as a destination for live music.

“Beale Street is Tennessee’s top tourism destination, and that’s
largely because of the alcohol,” Gower said. “It goes into creating a
festive environment.”

Ohio’s three Cs – Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland – already have
had some success with urban revitalization, but this would give them
another tool, Kearney said.

“Over-the-Rhine is vibrant, but it’s not as crowded as it once was,”
he said, as an example. “Just think how the nightlife would feed into
the residential areas, which would feed into the retail areas, which
would cause the whole area to experience more success.”

More than a dozen Ohio cities and townships would be able to create up
to three open-container districts each, depending on their population.
Cincinnati, just shy of the 300,000 threshold for three districts,
could have two, and West Chester, Colerain and Green townships could
each have one.

Cities would be responsible for selecting district locations and
setting hours, boundaries and other controls, Kearney said.

Proposal gains some steam, but 'devil's in the details'
Communities are just beginning to learn about the bill and what it
could mean for them. So far, local leaders and bar owners seem
supportive of the state giving communities the right to create
open-container districts.

“There’s no downside,” said Julie Calvert, spokeswoman for the
Cincinnati USA Convention and Visitors Bureau. “It allows cities to
make their own determinations for how and where they want to do it.

“We’ve seen at the Banks when we loosen the rules for special events
like Opening Day that people flock there,” she said.

Whether neighborhood business owners and residents actually want to be
part of a district is less clear. Bar owners have a lot of questions,
such as how the flow of alcohol would be contained within the district
and whether closed streets would jam traffic.

“The devil’s in the details,” said Jim Moehring, owner of Holy Grail
at the Banks. “It’s going to be tricky to manage.”

Members of the Downtown Residents Council have mixed views on
Kearney’s bill, according to President Craig Hudson.

“Anything that creates more activity we’re in favor of, but from a
trash and rowdiness standpoint there was some concern,” he said.

Even bar patrons don’t see open-container laws changing their
entertainment plans.

“I could see it being kind of cool, but I don’t think it would make me
more likely to come to the Banks,” said Brian Albrecht, 25, of Oxford.
He works Downtown and sometimes visits the riverfront entertainment
district between the stadiums.

Perhaps the strongest supporter of open-container districts in
Cincinnati is restaurateur Jeff Ruby, who thinks the city needs way
more than two.

He has been talking up an idea to pave Walnut Street with cobblestones
from Seventh, where he has a steakhouse, south to Fountain Square and
close it to cars on the weekends.

“We would have a legitimate entertainment district in the city where
people could walk all the way to Fountain Square with a drink in their
hand,” Ruby said. “Now you’re catching up with the rest of America.”

Picking just two open-container districts could become a challenge if
neighborhoods warm up to the idea.

Cincinnati already has eight community entertainment districts, a
designation that opens up more liquor licenses for about $1,500 each
instead of $25,000 each. They are the Banks, Over-the-Rhine, Pleasant
Ridge, East Price Hill’s Incline District, Northside, Madisonville,
Short Vine and Clifton Heights.

Downtown’s Walnut Street, home to the Aronoff Center and adjacent to
restaurant row, isn’t even on the list.

Still, some people aren’t sure their neighborhood is ready for public
drinking, either because of where they are in their revitalization
efforts or the proximity of residents.

“It’s becoming a district,” Tom Acito, owner of Dive Bar, said of
Short Vine in Corryville. “I don’t think it’s ready. There’s too many
people on the street now with nothing better to do than drink.”

The $300 million-plus redevelopment of Over-the-Rhine might make it an
obvious candidate for an open-container district, but Peter Hames,
president of the community council, says not so fast.

Neighborhood development by 3CDC and others includes condos and
apartments above many of the first-floor shops, restaurants and bars.

“We don’t want to be an entertainment district, in my opinion,” Hames
said. “We want to be a really nice mixed-use neighborhood.”

Other communities happy with results
Beale Street has no residents to worry about, according to Gower.
There are some offices above bars, but otherwise the 1.8-mile street
is all about the music and entertainment.

The Alley was the first open-container district in Alabama, sought in
2010 to bring and keep people in downtown Montgomery after business
hours.

Buildings on either side of the two-block stretch were bought by the
city and resold for development as first-floor entertainment with
housing above.

Developers are now working on building more apartments at one end of
the Alley.

“We have seen increased attendance numbers for all downtown events,”
said Dawn Hathcock, vice president of the Montgomery Convention and
Visitors Bureau. “We are also getting positive response from meeting
planners.”

Early results were positive enough that Alabama quickly passed
legislation to allow other cities to create open-container districts.

The size of open-container districts varies widely, from Louisville’s
one-block Fourth Street Live to several cities in Montana that allow
public drinking anywhere. Erie, Pa., has a 70-block downtown
open-container district, and Savannah, Ga., allows open containers in
its historic district.

Cities have settled on different approaches, as well. Louisville’s
Fourth Street Live, a private development of mostly chain restaurants
and stores, has a detailed dress code banning “excessively torn
clothing” and forbidding men from wearing shirts that are either
sleeveless or too long, among other restrictions.

Beale Street uses barriers and police cars to mark the boundaries of
the entertainment area, and no one under 21 is allowed inside after
dark. After several fights earlier this year, dozens of security
cameras were added.

Most communities allow traffic through the district part of the time,
becoming pedestrian-only on evenings or weekends. Many require drinks
to be in plastic containers.

If Ohio lawmakers pass Kearney’s bill allowing open-container
districts, it likely won’t take effect until late 2014 or early 2015,
he said.

Time for local communities to size up the possibilities and risks, and
decide whether they want in.  

http://news.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcs.dll/artikkel?NoCache=1&Dato=20131025&Kategori=BIZ01&Lopenr=310250049&Ref=AR


Want to drink in the street? You may soon be able to
On Fri, 25 Oct 2013 00:39:39 -0400, Garrison Hilliard

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Bill taps open-container law as way to get development brewing

Better known for loosening inhibitions, booze may soon be used to
lubricate the wheels of economic development in some Ohio communities,
including Cincinnati.

A growing number of cities nationwide, including Memphis, Louisville
and Montgomery, Ala., allow people to openly drink on the streets, a
la New Orleans, to encourage economic development.

Now, a bipartisan “open container” bill giving that option to Ohio
cities is given a good chance of passage in coming months. Sponsoring
state Sen. Eric Kearney, a North Avondale Democrat, is tweaking it
after a committee hearing, with a committee vote likely late this year
or when the General Assembly returns in March.

It has strong support from the Ohio Wholesale Wine and Beer
Association, one of the most powerful lobbies in Columbus, said
Republican Sen. Bill Seitz of Green Township, a bill co-sponsor and
ardent supporter. “It would be the first time in years that I can
enjoy a drink and a cigarette at the same time,” Seitz said.

Memphis’ Beale Street is the ultimate success story. The hotbed of
blues music died in the 1960s as businesses and residents left
downtown for the suburbs, according to Leslie Gower, spokeswoman for
the Downtown Memphis Commission – a scenario that also played out in
Cincinnati. But in the 1980s a revitalization plan closed Beale Street
to traffic and opened it to alcohol-carrying pedestrians, bringing it
back to life as a destination for live music.

“Beale Street is Tennessee’s top tourism destination, and that’s
largely because of the alcohol,” Gower said. “It goes into creating a
festive environment.”

Ohio’s three Cs – Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland – already have
had some success with urban revitalization, but this would give them
another tool, Kearney said.

“Over-the-Rhine is vibrant, but it’s not as crowded as it once was,”
he said, as an example. “Just think how the nightlife would feed into
the residential areas, which would feed into the retail areas, which
would cause the whole area to experience more success.”

More than a dozen Ohio cities and townships would be able to create up
to three open-container districts each, depending on their population.
Cincinnati, just shy of the 300,000 threshold for three districts,
could have two, and West Chester, Colerain and Green townships could
each have one.

Cities would be responsible for selecting district locations and
setting hours, boundaries and other controls, Kearney said.

Proposal gains some steam, but 'devil's in the details'
Communities are just beginning to learn about the bill and what it
could mean for them. So far, local leaders and bar owners seem
supportive of the state giving communities the right to create
open-container districts.

“There’s no downside,” said Julie Calvert, spokeswoman for the
Cincinnati USA Convention and Visitors Bureau. “It allows cities to
make their own determinations for how and where they want to do it.

“We’ve seen at the Banks when we loosen the rules for special events
like Opening Day that people flock there,” she said.

Whether neighborhood business owners and residents actually want to be
part of a district is less clear. Bar owners have a lot of questions,
such as how the flow of alcohol would be contained within the district
and whether closed streets would jam traffic.

“The devil’s in the details,” said Jim Moehring, owner of Holy Grail
at the Banks. “It’s going to be tricky to manage.”

Members of the Downtown Residents Council have mixed views on
Kearney’s bill, according to President Craig Hudson.

“Anything that creates more activity we’re in favor of, but from a
trash and rowdiness standpoint there was some concern,” he said.

Even bar patrons don’t see open-container laws changing their
entertainment plans.

“I could see it being kind of cool, but I don’t think it would make me
more likely to come to the Banks,” said Brian Albrecht, 25, of Oxford.
He works Downtown and sometimes visits the riverfront entertainment
district between the stadiums.

Perhaps the strongest supporter of open-container districts in
Cincinnati is restaurateur Jeff Ruby, who thinks the city needs way
more than two.

He has been talking up an idea to pave Walnut Street with cobblestones
from Seventh, where he has a steakhouse, south to Fountain Square and
close it to cars on the weekends.

“We would have a legitimate entertainment district in the city where
people could walk all the way to Fountain Square with a drink in their
hand,” Ruby said. “Now you’re catching up with the rest of America.”

Picking just two open-container districts could become a challenge if
neighborhoods warm up to the idea.

Cincinnati already has eight community entertainment districts, a
designation that opens up more liquor licenses for about $1,500 each
instead of $25,000 each. They are the Banks, Over-the-Rhine, Pleasant
Ridge, East Price Hill’s Incline District, Northside, Madisonville,
Short Vine and Clifton Heights.

Downtown’s Walnut Street, home to the Aronoff Center and adjacent to
restaurant row, isn’t even on the list.

Still, some people aren’t sure their neighborhood is ready for public
drinking, either because of where they are in their revitalization
efforts or the proximity of residents.

“It’s becoming a district,” Tom Acito, owner of Dive Bar, said of
Short Vine in Corryville. “I don’t think it’s ready. There’s too many
people on the street now with nothing better to do than drink.”

The $300 million-plus redevelopment of Over-the-Rhine might make it an
obvious candidate for an open-container district, but Peter Hames,
president of the community council, says not so fast.

Neighborhood development by 3CDC and others includes condos and
apartments above many of the first-floor shops, restaurants and bars.

“We don’t want to be an entertainment district, in my opinion,” Hames
said. “We want to be a really nice mixed-use neighborhood.”

Other communities happy with results
Beale Street has no residents to worry about, according to Gower.
There are some offices above bars, but otherwise the 1.8-mile street
is all about the music and entertainment.

The Alley was the first open-container district in Alabama, sought in
2010 to bring and keep people in downtown Montgomery after business
hours.

Buildings on either side of the two-block stretch were bought by the
city and resold for development as first-floor entertainment with
housing above.

Developers are now working on building more apartments at one end of
the Alley.

“We have seen increased attendance numbers for all downtown events,”
said Dawn Hathcock, vice president of the Montgomery Convention and
Visitors Bureau. “We are also getting positive response from meeting
planners.”

Early results were positive enough that Alabama quickly passed
legislation to allow other cities to create open-container districts.

The size of open-container districts varies widely, from Louisville’s
one-block Fourth Street Live to several cities in Montana that allow
public drinking anywhere. Erie, Pa., has a 70-block downtown
open-container district, and Savannah, Ga., allows open containers in
its historic district.

Cities have settled on different approaches, as well. Louisville’s
Fourth Street Live, a private development of mostly chain restaurants
and stores, has a detailed dress code banning “excessively torn
clothing” and forbidding men from wearing shirts that are either
sleeveless or too long, among other restrictions.

Beale Street uses barriers and police cars to mark the boundaries of
the entertainment area, and no one under 21 is allowed inside after
dark. After several fights earlier this year, dozens of security
cameras were added.

Most communities allow traffic through the district part of the time,
becoming pedestrian-only on evenings or weekends. Many require drinks
to be in plastic containers.

If Ohio lawmakers pass Kearney’s bill allowing open-container
districts, it likely won’t take effect until late 2014 or early 2015,
he said.

Time for local communities to size up the possibilities and risks, and
decide whether they want in.  

http://news.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/AB/20131025/BIZ01/310250049/


Re: Bill taps open-container law as way to get development brewing,alt.business
Senator's legislation has mixed support from business owners, locals

Better known for loosening inhibitions, booze may soon be used to
lubricate the wheels of economic development in some Ohio communities,
including Cincinnati.

A growing number of cities nationwide, including Memphis, Louisville
and Montgomery, Ala., allow people to openly drink on the streets, a
la New Orleans, to encourage economic development.

Now, a bipartisan “open container” bill giving that option to Ohio
cities is given a good chance of passage in coming months. Sponsoring
state Sen. Eric Kearney, a North Avondale Democrat, is tweaking it
after a committee hearing, with a committee vote likely late this year
or when the General Assembly returns in March.

It has strong support from the Ohio Wholesale Wine and Beer
Association, one of the most powerful lobbies in Columbus, said
Republican Sen. Bill Seitz of Green Township, a bill co-sponsor and
ardent supporter. “It would be the first time in years that I can
enjoy a drink and a cigarette at the same time,” Seitz said.

Memphis’ Beale Street is the ultimate success story. The hotbed of
blues music died in the 1960s as businesses and residents left
downtown for the suburbs, according to Leslie Gower, spokeswoman for
the Downtown Memphis Commission – a scenario that also played out in
Cincinnati. But in the 1980s a revitalization plan closed Beale Street
to traffic and opened it to alcohol-carrying pedestrians, bringing it
back to life as a destination for live music.

“Beale Street is Tennessee’s top tourism destination, and that’s
largely because of the alcohol,” Gower said. “It goes into creating a
festive environment.”

Ohio’s three Cs – Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland – already have
had some success with urban revitalization, but this would give them
another tool, Kearney said.

“Over-the-Rhine is vibrant, but it’s not as crowded as it once was,”
he said, as an example. “Just think how the nightlife would feed into
the residential areas, which would feed into the retail areas, which
would cause the whole area to experience more success.”

More than a dozen Ohio cities and townships would be able to create up
to three open-container districts each, depending on their population.
Cincinnati, just shy of the 300,000 threshold for three districts,
could have two, and West Chester, Colerain and Green townships could
each have one.

Cities would be responsible for selecting district locations and
setting hours, boundaries and other controls, Kearney said.

Proposal gains some steam, but 'devil's in the details'
Communities are just beginning to learn about the bill and what it
could mean for them. So far, local leaders and bar owners seem
supportive of the state giving communities the right to create
open-container districts.

“There’s no downside,” said Julie Calvert, spokeswoman for the
Cincinnati USA Convention and Visitors Bureau. “It allows cities to
make their own determinations for how and where they want to do it.

“We’ve seen at the Banks when we loosen the rules for special events
like Opening Day that people flock there,” she said.

Whether neighborhood business owners and residents actually want to be
part of a district is less clear. Bar owners have a lot of questions,
such as how the flow of alcohol would be contained within the district
and whether closed streets would jam traffic.

“The devil’s in the details,” said Jim Moehring, owner of Holy Grail
at the Banks. “It’s going to be tricky to manage.”

Members of the Downtown Residents Council have mixed views on
Kearney’s bill, according to President Craig Hudson.

“Anything that creates more activity we’re in favor of, but from a
trash and rowdiness standpoint there was some concern,” he said.

Even bar patrons don’t see open-container laws changing their
entertainment plans.

“I could see it being kind of cool, but I don’t think it would make me
more likely to come to the Banks,” said Brian Albrecht, 25, of Oxford.
He works Downtown and sometimes visits the riverfront entertainment
district between the stadiums.

Perhaps the strongest supporter of open-container districts in
Cincinnati is restaurateur Jeff Ruby, who thinks the city needs way
more than two.

He has been talking up an idea to pave Walnut Street with cobblestones
from Seventh, where he has a steakhouse, south to Fountain Square and
close it to cars on the weekends.

“We would have a legitimate entertainment district in the city where
people could walk all the way to Fountain Square with a drink in their
hand,” Ruby said. “Now you’re catching up with the rest of America.”

Picking just two open-container districts could become a challenge if
neighborhoods warm up to the idea.

Cincinnati already has eight community entertainment districts, a
designation that opens up more liquor licenses for about $1,500 each
instead of $25,000 each. They are the Banks, Over-the-Rhine, Pleasant
Ridge, East Price Hill’s Incline District, Northside, Madisonville,
Short Vine and Clifton Heights.

Downtown’s Walnut Street, home to the Aronoff Center and adjacent to
restaurant row, isn’t even on the list.

Still, some people aren’t sure their neighborhood is ready for public
drinking, either because of where they are in their revitalization
efforts or the proximity of residents.

“It’s becoming a district,” Tom Acito, owner of Dive Bar, said of
Short Vine in Corryville. “I don’t think it’s ready. There’s too many
people on the street now with nothing better to do than drink.”

The $300 million-plus redevelopment of Over-the-Rhine might make it an
obvious candidate for an open-container district, but Peter Hames,
president of the community council, says not so fast.

Neighborhood development by 3CDC and others includes condos and
apartments above many of the first-floor shops, restaurants and bars.

“We don’t want to be an entertainment district, in my opinion,” Hames
said. “We want to be a really nice mixed-use neighborhood.”

Other communities happy with results
Beale Street has no residents to worry about, according to Gower.
There are some offices above bars, but otherwise the 1.8-mile street
is all about the music and entertainment.

The Alley was the first open-container district in Alabama, sought in
2010 to bring and keep people in downtown Montgomery after business
hours.

Buildings on either side of the two-block stretch were bought by the
city and resold for development as first-floor entertainment with
housing above.

Developers are now working on building more apartments at one end of
the Alley.

“We have seen increased attendance numbers for all downtown events,”
said Dawn Hathcock, vice president of the Montgomery Convention and
Visitors Bureau. “We are also getting positive response from meeting
planners.”

Early results were positive enough that Alabama quickly passed
legislation to allow other cities to create open-container districts.

The size of open-container districts varies widely, from Louisville’s
one-block Fourth Street Live to several cities in Montana that allow
public drinking anywhere. Erie, Pa., has a 70-block downtown
open-container district, and Savannah, Ga., allows open containers in
its historic district.

Cities have settled on different approaches, as well. Louisville’s
Fourth Street Live, a private development of mostly chain restaurants
and stores, has a detailed dress code banning “excessively torn
clothing” and forbidding men from wearing shirts that are either
sleeveless or too long, among other restrictions.

Beale Street uses barriers and police cars to mark the boundaries of
the entertainment area, and no one under 21 is allowed inside after
dark. After several fights earlier this year, dozens of security
cameras were added.

Most communities allow traffic through the district part of the time,
becoming pedestrian-only on evenings or weekends. Many require drinks
to be in plastic containers.

If Ohio lawmakers pass Kearney’s bill allowing open-container
districts, it likely won’t take effect until late 2014 or early 2015,
he said.

Time for local communities to size up the possibilities and risks, and
decide whether they want in.  

http://news.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcs.dll/artikkel?NoCache=1&Dato=20131025&Kategori=BIZ01&Lopenr=310250049&Ref=AR


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