LANSING, Mich. – It won’t be long before the weather warms up. You might prefer to wander around Lansing while sipping a chilled drink, which is where social districts come into play. Outdoor social districts, where people can consume food and drink alcohol in specified outdoor common places, were approved by the city council in 2021.
They were put in place in Lansing to assist businesses to recover from the COVID outbreak, but now mayor Andy Schor is suggesting that they stay in place indefinitely.
The provision that allows social districts in Downtown Lansing, REO Town, and Old Town to exist expires in December, but there is support to keep them alive because they are so popular.
Kevin Wilkerson, who recently relocated from Arkansas, appreciates the social districts in Lansing.
“It kind of sucks that you spend your money on a drink and then have to toss it out because you’re compelled to,” Wilkerson remarked.
He stated he’d be happy to keep a setup where customers could mingle outside in a designated area without having to complete their drinks before leaving the pub.
Wilkerson explained, “It’s not like people don’t want to follow the rules or anything.” “However, it’s good to be able to wander around and get some fresh air, you know?” Even if it’s outside.”
Travis Stolicker, co-owner of Saddleback Barbecue, thinks it’s a terrific idea to turn REO Town into a place where people can enjoy themselves as well as the stores.
“The REO Town community is really about getting the people out into the area and keeping them down here, coming to different shops,” Stolicker said. “Being able to go between the different stores while sipping a beverage or a drink.” It’s all about REO Town community and that’s terrific for everybody.”
While Wilkerson thinks the notion is good in theory, he has some reservations. Will there be any sort of supervision to ensure that individuals don’t leave drinking and driving?” Wilkerson enquired. “Some folks become agitated and leave.
Those who wished to leave a restaurant or bar with an alcoholic beverage in 2021 had to pour it into a specially marked cup to assist keep track of participants. In Michigan, about 80 cities have created social districts. They are only found in Lansing and Ingham County.
In April, the Lansing City Council is set to vote on the resolution.