The Cartersville City Council approved an ordinance Thursday evening establishing the rules and regulations for a “downtown entertainment zone,” which would allow individuals to have open containers of alcohol in a designated area stretching from Church Street to Main Street and from Erwin Street to Tennessee Street.
The ordinance, however, comes with several caveats. For one, the entertainment zone will only be active Thursdays through Saturdays — from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. Thursday and Friday and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday. Under the ordinance, the council also reserves the right to exclude certain dates — such as those coinciding with parades and other downtown events — via resolution.
Furthermore, the open containers are limited to specially-marked cups purchased from downtown businesses.
Using an external vendor, Cartersville City Manager Dan Porta said the City could order up to 10,000 cups for 14 cents each. Without specifying the business by name, Porta said there is a local manufacturer that could produce those cups for 41 cents each.
In a work session held prior to Thursday evening’s council meeting, the council agreed that no administrative fees should be included with the manufacturing of the cups.
Under the ordinance, the Cartersville Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is in charge of both distributing the cups and collecting any fees associated with the entertainment zone ordinance.
“We would not be in the practice of making profit off the people we’re here to serve,” said DDA Executive Director Lillie Read. “Ideally moving forward — so that we are not in perpetuity responsible for the varying supply chains of our 15 alcohol service businesses — what I would really like to do is set up a design produced and authorized by the DDA, work with the cup manufacturer … I would like to be able to refer our businesses to the sales rep in charge of this design so they can handle their own supply chain moving forward.”
Read told the council she has been in discussions with one manufacturer, which she did not specify by name.
Cartersville Assistant City Attorney Keith Lovell said the ordinance does include language allowing vendors approved by the DDA to serve as “an alternative individual to sell those cups” to licensed downtown establishments.
Cartersville Planning and Development Director Randy Mannino said the entertainment district map has changed since the first reading of the ordinance last month.
“We did eliminate a portion that went up, I believe, Gilmer up to its intersection with Church Street,” he said. “The alcohol control board did recommend approval of this particular change.”
The lone vote against both the downtown entertainment zone map boundaries and rules and regulations piece was Councilman Cary Roth.
“I don’t think this adds a great deal to our downtown community,” he said. “I would stand with several in our community that are opposed to this ordinance of open containers in our downtown district.”
Santini proposed that the ordinance take effect Feb. 11. Council members voted to add that recommendation into the official downtown entertainment district text.
“That way, the company and the restaurants that might be doing something special for Valentine’s Day would be able to take advantage of that weekend,” he said. “I’d rather have the cups two weeks early than one day too late.”