ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Abilene City Council members on Thursday approved creating an Entertainment District Task Force at the recommendation of City Manager Robert Hanna.
Turning downtown Abilene into an Entertainment District would allow residents to carry open containers of alcohol around while outside in the area.
The task force will study the potential effects the proposal would have if passed.
“That would include myself, the city attorney, representatives from the chamber of commerce, and whoever else might want to serve,” said Hanna.
But the idea caught some flak from some concerned citizens.
“This ordinance could encourage underage drinking by increasing the access to alcohol for our youth,” said one woman.
“It would not be in the best interest of our city right now,” said another woman.
“I wouldn’t even consider it right now to be honest with you,” said one man.
Councilman Weldon Hurt said the state of Texas already has laws in place to protect youth from underage drinking.
“People are already going to the bars downtown, we’re not trying to encourage drinking, this just gives accessibility in certain districts,” said Hurt.
Tim Smith, who has developed most of the SoDA district, says if the city still wants to see a walkable downtown, an entertainment district is the missing piece of the puzzle.
“Everything I seem to do has some element of controversy, it seems like,” said Smith. “It all comes down to personal and individual responsibility, and if you behave poorly there are consequences for those actions.”
Smith says the bar and restaurant owners are willing to take care of any extra trash that results from public consumption.