In 30 days, Columbus will have a red cup district
The city council of Columbus, Mississippi, voted 4-2 during its regular meeting on Tuesday to establish two districts where it will be legal to take liquor, beer, or light wine to-go from participating restaurants and bars. The first district covers the downtown area, including establishments such as the Princess Theater, Zachary’s, J. Broussard’s, Munson and Brothers, Harvey’s, Huck’s, and Main Street Thai. It also includes the Rosenzweig Art Center, the Hitching Lot Farmers’ Market, and the Burns Bottom neighborhood. The second area is located near the old Queen City Hotel on Northside, including Seventh Avenue North from 14th Street in the west to 16th Street in the east, as well as 15th Street North between Eighth and Seventh avenues. The proposal for the second area was added back at the request of District 41 State Rep. Kabir Karriem.
Green cups and specific regulations for to-go beverages
The to-go cups allowed in the districts must be 16 ounces or less and must be green. Originally, there was a suggestion to use purple cups to match Columbus High School’s colors, but this idea was dropped due to concerns from citizens. To-go cups will be allowed between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. seven days a week, but it is only permissible to have alcohol purchased within the district. Bringing in beverages from outside the district is not allowed. Participating restaurants and bars will be required to have a trash can within 15 feet of the main entrance as part of the ordinance.
Implementation and effects on festivals
The ordinance will go into effect in 30 days, according to City Attorney Jeff Turnage. However, Turnage clarified that the ordinance will not affect festivals or downtown events that serve alcohol, such as the Market Street Festival. For such events, organizers will still need to apply for permits from the council, even with the presence of the entertainment and recreation district.
Promissory note for parks plan approved
Furthermore, the council approved a promissory note to the Mississippi Development Bank for a loan amount not to exceed $3 million. This step is part of the process to issue bonds for a $4.4 million parks renovation plan. The majority of the work will take place in Propst Park, with additional funds allocated for community centers and maintenance. The city will utilize its $400,000 per year share of the 2% tourism tax to make the payments. The interest rate for the bonds has not yet been determined and will be set at a later stage.