Alcohol Control Board fines rekindle discussion of Fairhope ente - FOX10 News | WALA

Alcohol Control Board fines rekindle discussion of Fairhope entertainment district

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FAIRHOPE, AL (WALA) -

Some Fairhope businesses are upset after they say the Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) Board fined them after allowing folks to take alcoholic beverages out of their establishments during the annual Christmas parade.  Now they’re asking the city to once again establish a downtown entertainment district that would allow for it. 

“I kind of felt like we were targeted,” said Douglas Kerr, owner of Dragonfly Café and Fly Bar in downtown Fairhope.  “I felt like the community was targeted and more or less that…the businesses that serve alcoholic beverages.  I felt like it was kind of a slight of hand on their part.”

Kerr said ABC agents cited him and other bars and eateries on one of the town’s busiest nights of the year…the annual Christmas parade.  Because of that, they’re asking the city to create a downtown entertainment district which would allow folks to take their drinks outside.  It’s something that was looked at a year ago, but never gained traction.

“The complications were to define the boundaries of the entertainment district, whether you were going to include some school properties, maybe some church properties…defining it and then another issue was whether or not it was going 365 days a year or just during special occasions,” explained Fairhope City Council president, Jack Burrell.

Those issues remain the same now and will be points of discussion at next Monday’s city council meeting.  Fairhope has a vibrant nightlife and most bar and restaurant owners feel that an entertainment district would not only make sense, but would benefit all downtown businesses.

“It would definitely generate business, you know, walking through business and just get a chance to open up what we have for people walking through for like I said, the holidays,” said R Bistro bartender, Scott Smith.  “Mardi Gras always a good time…bring a lot of tourists from different places.”

“Everything is centralized to the central business district and as it comes down to it, if I myself as a citizen can walk and have a cocktail and then walk over and buy something from a retail shop, it actually benefits everyone,” Kerr argued.

The matter’s just up for discussion.  There’s still a long way to go to figure out how it would end up being put in place and there are citizens on both sides of the issue.

“I’m probably not for it, just because I worry about people having a little bit too many adult beverages and then leaving our fair city and then going out and being in a wreck or something,” said Fairhope resident, Alisa Valentim.

“It has been very common for people to walk around outside with a cup of a beer or whatever…never been any trouble and it would just makes it more fun to be in Fairhope,” countered Ron Allen.

The Fairhope City Council will discuss the issue next Monday, December 18, 2017 in their work session prior to introducing the ordinance at the regular meeting.  The work session is open to the public.
 

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