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FLORENCE The downtown entertainment district has been finalized by the City Council, and the first weekend for the district will begin March 16.

The council on Tuesday night voted to establish a district that extends from Pine Street in the west to the intersection of East Tennessee Street and East College Street. Tuscaloosa Street is the northern boundary.

The addition to the earlier ordinance that established the district sets the hours, days and requirement for the use of blue plastic cups with a stick on logo that will be approved later. The district, which allows restaurant patrons to take alcoholic beverage onto sidewalks, will be in effect one weekend a month, but not on the weekends of First Fridays.

The vote was not unanimous. Councilman Blake Edwards voted against it, and Councilwoman Michelle Eubanks abstained from the vote, leaving four council members to approve it.

“I don’t see the need for an entertainment district,” Edwards said. “We will have to have added police protection. Does that mean we are expecting problems? I don’t see it helping the city.”

During the public comment portion of the meeting, John Sheppard said encouraging people to drink in public is not a good idea.

“We don’t need any more alcohol in this town. We already have enough substance abuse,” he said.

Sheppard said he lost a spouse to a drunken driver, and allowing people to walk the streets with beverages will only make drunken driving a bigger problem.

Councilman Andy Betterton said he understands those concerns, but noted the council had worked extensively with Police Chief Ron Tyler before making a decision.

“I think we have crafted this very well,” Betterton said. “I’m willing to give this a try. He also said an entertainment district is not a license for public drunkenness. Anyone who is intoxicated will be arrested, he said.
timberland hiking boots Entertainment district finalized