Knoxville city council to discuss creation of ‘Downtown Festival District’ for open alcoholic beverages

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — An emergency ordinance is on Tuesday night’s city council agenda that seeks to amend the current law prohibiting open alcoholic beverages in public places with the creation of a “Downtown Festival District.”

The ordinance, which was requested by Beer Board Chair Roberto and Vice Mayor McKenzie, calls for the creation of “Downtown Festival District” and to allow the possession and consumption of beer and alcoholic beverages on public property — within boundaries of the Festival Event Area.

This, upon approval of a Special Beer Permit by the Beer Board under the terms, conditions, rules and regulations as the Beer Board may establish.

The Festival Event Area is comprised of Market Square, Market Street and the area between South Gay Street and Market Street, Clinch Avenue and Cumberland Avenue.

(City of Knoxville)

According to the city, it has received a number of requests to allow patrons of certain festivals that are organized in the Central Business Improvement District (CBID) to have and drink beer or alcoholic beverages on the public streets and sidewalks while they are enjoying the festivities.

The city, seeking to accommodate the requests but also protect public health and safety — sees the portion of the CBID becoming a Downtown Festival District as a possible compromise.

The emergency ordinance will have its first reading during Tuesday night’s city council meeting.

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