The Downtown Owensboro dining and entertainment scene is about to become a lot more flexible.
According to Fred Reeves, Director for Downtown, Owensboro residents should soon be able to carry open containers of alcohol across downtown Owensboro without having to remain within the boundaries of the establishment where said alcohol was purchased. The open container policy is in corroboration with Owensboro’s preliminary approval for obtaining an Entertainment Destination Center liquor license.
The EDC liquor license will be a game-changer for those who wish they could move around a little more while enjoying a drink in downtown Owensboro. Currently, if you buy a drink at the RiverPark Center during, say, Friday After 5, you must keep your beverage within RPC’s allocated boundaries. Even at the annual Owensboro BBQ Festival, those who purchase an alcoholic drink must remain confined to the allocated area where it was sold. These events must obtain temporary liquor licenses for the days which they host their event, which includes the restrictions on where patrons can carry their beverages.
“I think it’s a wonderful idea,” said Trenten Hall, a bartender at Mellow Mushroom. “It’ll spread the money to different places downtown. It’ll allow for more street traffic. It’ll let you walk from place to place without being stuck at one place for too long.”
Reeves, who met with the Kentucky Alcoholic Beverage Commission earlier this summer, says things are looking positive for this new development. An ordinance still has to be filed and passed within the City Commission, then Owensboro must submit an application to the state after the ordinance passes before the city is approved. However, Reeves feels strongly that everything will go through and that Owensboro will be approved for the EDC license as early as 2019.
The annual EDC license will cost approximately $2,577 per year to maintain. The City of Owensboro will own the license; therefore, the city commissioners will be able to define the boundaries for the open container policy. Reeves mentioned that certain spaces, such as Smothers Park, may want to be carved out so that alcohol wouldn’t be allowed on the playground’s premises.
The city of Owensboro must obtain a separate license with each establishment who chooses to sell alcohol and participate as part of the EDC.