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Lawmaker wants to create "entertainment districts" in Ohio

 
Lawmaker wants to create
Posted Tuesday, June 11th 2013 @ 1pm  by WTVN Newsroom

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- A state lawmaker wants to see the creation of districts in some of the state's largest cities that would allow you to carry open containers of alcohol from place to place.

"Beale Street in Memphis or Bourbon Street in New Orleans or there's a district in Louisville that has it," said Sen. Eric Kearney, a Cincinnati Democrat.

Currently, state law doesn't allow open containers to be taken off the property where it was purchased. Kearney says it could be a big boost to local economies.

"Just judging from people's reaction there's a lot of interest in this bill," he said.

Kearney sees places like The Banks or Over-the-Rhine Gateway in Cincinnati, Arena District in Columbus, or The Flats in Cleveland being potential sites for these districts. It would be up to local authorities to create the districts. They cannot be larger than a half-mile by a half-mile in size.

"There are some members of the community who, one - I don't think fully understand the language in the bill and two - don't want it in their neighborhood, but want it in their city," Kearney said.

Outside of that he hasn't heard many negative comments about the concept.

State drinking laws would still apply and anyone going to the district would not be able to bring their own alcohol in. Police would be able to tell if alcohol was purchased from a vendor in the district by looking at the cup the alcohol was in.

It would also be up to local municipalities to set the boundaries of the district and make sure they were clearly marked.

"You could designate it either by a tape or you could designate it by cones or you could use any mechanism that you felt was right," he said.

Kearney says the current bill limits the districts to cities with more than 50,000 people, but says townships have also approached him about being included. It's a change he's open to considering.

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