Council approves 4-1 on Recreation and Leisure Districts ordinance

HATTIESBURG, MS. - City Council approved 4 to 1 on the Recreation and Leisure Districts ordinance Tuesday.

The ordinance will allow people to take a drink from one location, in a non-glass container, to another bar or restaurant in the established district.

Hattiesburg Historic Downtown Association Executive Director Andrea Saffle says the ordinance will take effect in 30 days. "I am very excited, I am very pleased that council passed the ordinance" Saffle says.

The ordinance does now allow a person to bring their drink into another licensed business. According to Saffle trash cans will be placed outside restaurants for consumers to discard their used drinks.

"We got a little more work to get done, we have to order some trash cans" says Saffle. She continues, "I think this could be a great thing for the downtown and for the city at large."

Ward 2 Council member Deborah Delgado opposed the ordinance, but agreed it can help community businesses. "I agree with the spirit of this ordinance, I support it because I see it as an opportunity for businesses to improve themselves."

Delgado continues, "I am voting against it because we have an opportunity here to create other districts within our community that can benefit from this ordinance and we chose not to do that."

According to Delgado the ordinance is not inclusive to other businesses. "We started this conversation a long time ago. I requested that the community business district that are located within the Twin Forks Rising plan, which was adopted by this city in 2013 be included."

She continues, "There have been plenty of time to include those districts, however I am told there have been some questions about how this project will operate that this one may be a test."

"If its a test, then why adopt an ordinance, why not engage in some of the activities that the ordinance will allow like we had done in the past on a limited basis" says Delgado.

Delgado adds, "...Until we make a determination to be inclusive in terms of the districts that should be covered by such an ordinance."

Saffle adds, "What we have seen looking at other markets, is that it increases businesses within the district. It attracts new businesses to the district."

Saffle hopes the ordinance will create a destination for many visitors. "It creates more of an an energy as a destination, as a place to be. It attracts a lot more activities and event type things that want to take place within the district because it is just easier to do" says Saffle.

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