Whiteville City Council approves creation of downtown social district

Whiteville City Council approves creation of downtown social district
Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 4:46 PM EDT
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WHITEVILLE, N.C. (WECT) - Whiteville’s city council voted 5-1 Tuesday night in favor of creating a downtown social district, allowing adults to carry open-container beverages in a designated area of the city.

Councilmembers who voted to approve the creation of the district are hopeful it will bring new businesses and visitors to the area.

“You’re able to have a glass of wine, beer, and what this does, this allows for more business development,” said Councilman Kevin Williamson. “This allows for more festivals, more concerts, more things like that, Things that everybody wants to see in small town America.”

Any business within this area downtown can choose whether to participate in the social district. If they do, they will have to put up a sign in their window, signaling to visitors that they are welcome to bring open container drinks inside.

Those drinks, however, must be purchased at other places inside the social district, in distinct cups marks with locally-designed stickers.

“Obviously, you can’t be disruptive in public,” said Williamson. “If you’re drunk and disruptive, there are laws to address that. If you’re littering, there are laws to address that. These are not things that we fear.”

Williamson is hopeful this will not only increase foot traffic downtown, but also encourage more tourists to visit the area.

“Studies show that this is good for downtowns, that these are good for small towns and we want to arm our businesses with everything we can to thrive,” Williamson said. “This is something where we are working very hard to give our businesses every tool they can to succeed and thrive. That’s what we want in Whiteville.”

The social district rules will be in effect from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday thru Saturday, and 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Sundays. Since this is a local ordinance, council can vote to amend or repeal it at any time.