Conway officials again discussed allowing people to walk downtown with a drink in hand and creating a midnight cutoff for liquor sales.
The ordinance proposed by city staff returned to city council on Monday for a breakout discussion in hopes of incorporating more specific rules, including requiring people to carry their alcoholic beverages in cups. In other words, customers could not walk around downtown with a bottle of wine or liquor by drinking it from the bottle.
City staff are looking at the possible area as a space that would allow for occasional drinking and recreation while people wander downtown for sightseeing, and are trying to come up with an ordinance that works best for the city. . It should eventually be adopted by the city council, which has not yet happened.
Councilor William Goldfinch said he wanted to understand the benefit of people walking from restaurant to restaurant with a drink in hand.
But city staff said it wasn’t just about that.
“It’s about the public spaces in between,” said Conway City Administrator Adam Emrick.
These intermediate spaces could be urban gardens, parks and an open-air movie that the city could host in its new amphitheater. Retail stores could be included, but the owner would decide if alcohol would be allowed inside.
The consumer zone would cover the Waccamaw River and Central Business districts. These neighborhoods include portions of Third and Fourth Avenues and the downtown section of Main Street just past Fifth Avenue. It also includes the Riverwalk.
This time around, the Conway Chamber of Commerce and Conway Downtown Alive were involved in getting the data to the city council.
A survey was sent to members of the chamber, resulting in 156 responses on the drinking zone and the midnight cut-off. Of these responses, 101 were in favor of a consumption zone and 55 were against. As for the midnight cut, 99 were for and 57 were against.
Disadvantages of a downtown drinking area, according to survey results, include minors who might take advantage of the rule, litter, public intoxication, attraction of ‘homeless people with problems’ addiction” and people bringing their own drinks to bars.