In downtown Lansing, the idea to host a “social district” for cocktails was all set to implement this month. However, it is likely to be delayed until the summer of 2021.
Earlier this month, the concept of consuming alcohol outdoors by the local bars, distilleries, and breweries, etc. was briefed out in front of the Council by Cathleen Edgerly from Downtown Lansing Inc. and Scott Ellis from Michigan Licensed Beverage Association.
The whole idea of outdoor cocktails aims to split the cost of attracting consumers to downtown, outdoor entertainment among businesses. Additionally, it could serve the purpose of Covid-19 precautionary measurements from the perspectives of local bars, said Edgerly.
It has come forward that the council needs to amend city ordinance before the launch of social districts to allow outdoor bars. The City Council President Peter Spadafore explained that the Social Districts aimed to bring the concept of to-go cocktails are actually in public spaces that will breach the existing policies. Therefore, it requires to amend the city ordinance to move forward with the concept.
As per Spadafore, the finalization of Social Districts can be done by the fall with the hope to establish outdoor bars by the next year.
The three proposed social districts are:
- Stadium District: It will include Lansing center, the former Lansing City Market, American Fifth Spirit, and Rotary Park.
- Michigan Avenue District: It would span the whole E. Michigan Avenue, including areas from Troppo to Nuthouse, from Grand River to the bars of Moriatry and Stober.
- Washington Square District: Both the east and west sides of Washington Square, Southside of Ottawa Street, east side of Capitol Avenue, covering the area behind 200 blocks of S. Washington Square as well.
The Old Town and REO Town are also on the list for Social Districts as per Spadafore though it requires another state application to the officials. But initially, they will undergo bureaucratic formalities for the ordinances prohibiting the sale of liquor in open spaces.
The Council members have also clarified the situation of making ordinances as open intoxicants. They have said that this concept of outdoor drinking will be confined to certain boundaries of the districts containing signage.
At the moment, the proposed permissions are under consideration of City Council with a hope to get approved soon. Any changes will be accordingly notified to the residents and local bars, said councilwoman Carol Wood.