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Arts and Entertainment

Loosening laws on open containers could open up entertainment districts
Ohio senator says changing open container laws can help rebuilt downtowns

Andy Chow
Ohio State Senator Eric H. Kearney, District 9, 130th General Assembly of the Ohio Senate
Courtesy of State of Ohio
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Revamping the downtown areas in Ohio’s big cities can give the economy a major boost. That’s according to one lawmaker who believes changing the state's open container laws could help that process. Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow reports.

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A bill to drop open container laws in parts of Ohio is gaining momentum. The sponsor, Democratic Sen. Eric Kearney of Cincinnati, says his effort to create so-called entertainment districts is getting a lot of support during open public forums.

These districts are designated areas where patrons can walk around outside with an alcoholic drink in hand.

Kearney says the bill, which has bipartisan support, could pass out of committee by the end of November and possibly get a full Senate vote by the end of the year. That's encouraging news for the senato,r who believes the measure could help strengthen Ohio’s economy.

“I think it’ll bring in tourism, I think it’ll attract people to certain parts of cities and that will increase the business traffic — the foot traffic. It should help retailers and it should also help those who are trying to revitalize our downtown areas or certain community districts inside cities,” Kearney said.

According to the current language, a municipality can create an entertainment district if it has more than 50,000 residents.

Kearney says the bill will be changed to include townships, and that population minimum could be lowered if lawmakers deem it necessary.

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