Social districts closer to reality in Charlotte; Some Plaza Midwood businesses are excited about the possibility


CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) – Social districts could soon become a reality in parts of Charlotte.

This after the Safe Communities Committee advanced the proposal to the full council to be considered next month.

Business owners are excited the proposal is one step closer to becoming a thing here in Plaza Midwood.

They believe the close community of businesses would create the perfect area for a social district.

“I think it would be good for Charlotte and areas like Plaza Midwood and South End would really benefit from it,” Hannah Hartnatt said.

A social district is a designated area where people can drink alcohol from establishments off the premises, on the sidewalk, in parks or other social areas.

“Where I’m from, New Orleans, they do that currently, so I think it’ll be a good idea for the people that want to come out and just socialize or want to have happy hour or something,” Fallon Turl said.

“Nearly everyone in our business district is supportive of this, but ready to evaluate it and make sure it’s working,” Russell Fergusson, a Partner of Dish in Plaza Midwood, said.

Social districts include boundaries of where it ends, special designated cups, and specific hours when people can walk from business-to-business with their drinks in-hand. Establishments in a social district can choose not to participate.

“All of us have different takes on it, some of our restaurants and bars are really excited about getting involved, others are less enthusiastic because it adds additional hassles to deal with staff and figuring out how to do it safely with the law,” Ferguson said.

Social districts are not new to the state or our area.

Places like Salisbury and Greensboro already have them and have been without any issues or spikes in crime since they started.

“Whether it benefits me directly or not, I think just as a whole if Plaza Midwood works together, it just makes the area better and thus from a business standpoint, we’ll all benefit,” Carson Clough, a co-founder of Giddy Goat Coffee Roasters, said.

Business owners believe it will drive people outside more and explore stores in an area with a social district. City leaders and businesses believe it can turn a neighborhood into a destination for both customers and new potential businesses.

“I just think the idea of ​​a social district future pushes the community point, people can stay together – I’m all about being outside and walking around and being active,” Clough said.

The city will hold a public forum on Aug. 15, followed by City Council considering the measure a week later.

If the city passes the measure next month, the neighborhoods will not become social districts overnight, they would have to submit for one and be approved by the city.

Related: Conversations continue to create a Charlotte social district

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