Flats East Bank Could Be Northeast Ohio's First Open Container District

Photo courtesy of k_e_lewis via Wikimedia Commons
Cleveland is taking another giant leap into the 21st Century. Nope, not improved public transit or any of that noise. But you might finally be able to walk around outside with your alcoholic drink without constantly looking over your shoulder for the law. 

Not just anywhere, mind you. A proposal has just hit the Cleveland City Council that would allow for open containers around the Flats East Bank, the revitalizing stack of waterfront restaurants and bars that's brought a lot of new life to a part of the city that once resembled a Scooby Doo ghost town. According to Cleveland.com, under the proposed ordinance, property owners can apply to become an outdoor refreshment area if the property contains four places with liquor licenses. 

Under the ordinance, booze drinks — in plastic bottles or cups — purchased from one of the places with the liquor licenses can then be consumed out in the open within the property's outdoor area. 

For those of us who were wondering what would come next and when after Ohio passed legislation allowing open-container areas last year, we finally have an answer on the north coast.

Councilman Kerry McCormack is sponsoring the proposal. He told Cleveland.com any property owner could apply for the distinction, but the developer behind the Flats East Bank — The Wolstein Group and Fairmount Properties — are the only ones who have stepped up with interest. 

Legal, outside boozing is a particular boon if your city is trying to attract tourists. Cities like Memphis, New Orleans, and Key West all have loose open container policies aimed at increasing merriment. Unfortunately, it looks like the council mechanics won't be able to act fast enough to get this legislation passed by the upcoming RNC.  

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