City Commissioners on Tuesday approved an expansion to the hours during which patrons can carry alcohol openly in downtown Owensboro’s Entertainment Destination Center. The expanded hours of operation could go into effect as early as this weekend.
The City will now allow patrons to carry alcoholic beverages in designated green cups from 5 p.m.-12 a.m. on Fridays and from noon-12 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Mayor Tom Watson and City Commissioners Larry Maglinger, Jeff Sanford and Pam Smith-Wright voted in approval, while Commissioner Larry Conder abstained.
The EDC, otherwise known as The District, was created last year and allowed alcohol to be purchased from participating businesses and carried openly during special events. Last year, The District was primarily used during Friday After 5, but the approved ordinance will allow open containers of alcoholic beverages to be carried each weekend unless otherwise altered.
After allowing City restaurants to expand outdoor seating as a result of COVID-19, City Manager Nate Pagan said many restaurant owners requested an expansion of The District’s hours, believing it would “boost business during this difficult time.”
The District currently runs from West Veteran’s Boulevard to Fifth Street and from the Miller House on Crittenden Street to Poplar Street. District cups are never permitted inside specified zones, including Lazy Dayz Playground, Shelton Memorial in Smothers Park, and any church property within the allocated space.
The ordinance includes a provision that gives event organizers who are against the open container policy the ability to be excluded from The District’s guidelines.
The City can also decide whether specific events shouldn’t incorporate The District, or if the proposed hours should be cut back or removed entirely.
“I want people to understand that this can be changed anytime if it doesn’t work out,” Smith-Wright said. “I don’t want people to think that this is set in stone forever.”
Alcohol carried in the designated green cups must be purchased from the restaurants and bars participating as part of The District. Patrons cannot carry cups into another business location, and cups must stay within The District’s boundaries, which are indicated through signs placed around the perimeters.
State and city laws regarding public intoxication, impaired driving and open containers apply to areas both inside and outside of The District.
City officials and officials with the Owensboro Police Department said they encountered no problems during last year’s first season with The District and that everything ran smoothly.