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What Happened to Marietta’s Open Container District?
Early this past spring, Marietta was abuzz with the prospect of approving an open-container district in Marietta Square. Open-container districts, often referred to as entertainment districts, allow patrons of legal drinking age to carry open alcoholic drinks from restaurants within a designated area. Now we’re nearing the end of 2019 and open adult beverages are still not allowed outside of the walls of the restaurants of Marietta Square. What happened?
Does Marietta Have an Open Container District?
In 2018, the council considered an open-container district proposal, initially suggested by Mayor Steve Tumlin, but it never came to a vote. This year the idea gained traction thanks in part due to support from local merchants. Councilwoman Cheryl Richardson, who was a chief proponent of the proposal last year, stated she changed her mind after a petition passed around from restaurateurs in the area that expressed a desire for such a district.
As the proposal moved through judicial and legislative committee meetings, council members shrunk the cup size to 12 ounces, narrowed the time frame to Thursday through Saturday, and set enforceable hours unique to each day. The open-container district would have encompassed most of Marietta Square but excluded Glover Park and the sidewalks bordering the park.
The final reading of the proposal was scheduled for May 14. Expected to pass, the measure would have gone into effect immediately for a six-month trial. However, Mayor Tumlin vetoed the measure. Despite initially suggesting the proposal, Mayor Tumlin has since voiced his opposition to an open-container district. Mayor Tumlin felted an open-container district could “have the potential” to threaten the family-friendly atmosphere of Marietta Square. The city council failed to get the necessary votes to override the mayor’s veto.
At this time, there is no word on whether or not city council will pick up the proposal again in the near future. However, as other cities throughout Cobb County approve open-container districts, including Kennesaw, Powder Springs and Acworth, many believe it is only a matter of time before Marietta joins that list. In the meantime, if you’re dining in Marietta Square, be sure to finish your drink before heading out.