Downtown Woodstock

The Woodstock entertainment district covers most central areas in the city’s downtown.

WOODSTOCK — Visitors to downtown Woodstock who enjoy walking with alcoholic beverages in its entertainment district may soon be allowed to do so in a larger area.

The Woodstock City Council has approved on first reading an expansion to the entertainment district to include the Northside Hospital Cherokee Amphitheater, Reeves Street, Paden Street, Maple Street and Hickory Street, more of Main Street, Market Street, Fowler Street and Mill Street and part of Dupree Road. The new area also includes a half-acre lot at Dupree and Market intended for a food truck park.

Woodstock’s entertainment district allows people to walk with alcoholic drinks within the district, so long as they are purchased from a business with the appropriate license. Drinks are required to be in a plastic container and not to exceed 16 ounces. Earlier this year, the city created a second entertainment district at The Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta.

Another option would have expanded the district to the same areas except for the amphitheater. The entertainment district predates the amphitheater; the ordinance took effect in March 2016 and the amphitheater opened in November that year.

Councilmembers approved the updated map in a 4-1 vote at their meeting Monday with Councilman Colin Ake opposing. Councilman Rob Usher was absent from the meeting.

They also approved plans to later further extend the district to include some of the Main Street lots to the south, after talking with commercial property owners there.

Ake later said in a statement that even though he voted against the proposal, he is for expanding the ability to carry drinks downtown.

“I support expansion of the district but want to see a broader expansion. I don’t think the City should be in the business of telling adults what to carry around where in which cup. I think as the district exists now, it presents enforcement challenges,” he said in an email to the Tribune Friday.

The food truck park itself was tabled for review this month by the city’s planning commissioners, who wanted more information about the concept’s effects on foot and vehicle traffic.

The city council will review the district expansion again on second reading for adoption at the next meeting, 7 p.m. Oct. 14. The mayor and council meet in the Chambers at City Center, 8534 Main St. in Woodstock.

Shannon is a reporter covering education, city governments, crime, features, religion and other local news. She is a graduate of Young Harris College and currently lives in unincorporated Woodstock.

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