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Downtown businesses eager for new ordinance to begin

HATTIESBURG, MS. - Downtown restaurants and bars are eager for the new Recreation and Leisure Districts ordinance to begin next month. On Tuesday council members voted 4-1 to pass the ordinance which allows consumers to walk the approved streets of downtown with an alcoholic beverage.

Owner of Bianchi's Pizzeria and Front Street Bar Tom White says it will create better foot traffic. “It reaffirms, what we already know down here that we have a thriving, entertaining district in downtown." “We love the ordinance we are so excited that it got passed" says J Evan Curry, General Manager of The Porter.

Jessica Jacobs owner of Town Square Cafe and Bakery says the ordinance will allow consumers to visit more areas downtown. “You can visit more businesses than just one" says Jacobs.

“One of our goals here at The Porter is to try to revitalize downtown Hattiesburg and this is the exact thing that is going to do that" says Curry.

White adds, “Passing from each place down the streets, the more the merrier, the more restaurants we have, the more foot traffic we have, we will all thrive and continue to grow.”

Whether your drink is on the house or on the rocks, the ordinance says consumers can only walk around the approved district with a non-glass container.

Curry says, “You know you always hear people talking about going to Beale Street or Bourbon Street, you know, why not Pine Street?"

Prior to entering another licensed business, consumers must discard their drink inside city trash cans outside the business.

Curry says the trash cans will help keep the city clean. “That doesn’t bother me too much, the concept of coming in here with another drink, because if they are coming here with another drink, they are more than likely gonna buy another drink.”

Jacobs adds, “I think it a good idea, it keeps people from littering and it keeps our city beautiful.” While businesses approve of the new ordinance, Council woman Deborah Delgado of Ward 2 voted against it.

According to Delgado the ordinance is not inclusive of other districts.

“A long time ago I requested that the community business districts that are located within the Twin Forks Rising plan, which was adopted by this city in 2013 be included" says Delgado.

She adds, "There has been plenty of time for those businesses to be included.” Although Delgado voted against it, she does agree it will create a new spark in downtown.

According to Hattiesburg Historic Downtown Association's Executive Director Andrea Saffle the organization is currently working to obtain trash cans for restaurants and bars within the district.

The ordinance will take effect in 30 days.



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