Council approves go cups for the districtBy ANTHONY WARREN,
if you want a drink to go, and you’re dining at The District at Eastover, you can have it, thanks to the recent passage of Jackson’s first “go cup” ordinance.
Recently, the Jackson City Council approved an ordinance setting up a leisure and recreation district at the District at Eastover.
The districts are commonly referred to as “go cup” districts, because restaurant patrons will be able to leave the establishments with libations, as long as they’re in a special cup.
Developer Ted Duckworth was pleased with the council’s decision and say it will enhance “the District’s presence as a gathering place for the community.”
The District is located at the corner of Eastover Drive and the I-55 North frontage road. It is currently home to two restaurants that will provide go cups, Fine and Dandy and Cantina Laredo.
Cultivation Food Hall, a third restaurant that will be permitted to provide go cups, will open this summer, according to a press release.
Go cups will be limited to those restaurants. Residents living in the District Lofts, an apartment complex there, are prohibited from bringing libations into public areas, unless they’re purchased from permitted restaurants, according to city code.
“We’re only extending the walls of the restaurants to the boundary lines of the district,” said attorney Brad Reeves.
Reeves worked with the city to craft the ordinance on behalf of developers.
Go cups will only be allowed during the restaurant’s current business hours, and patrons will only be allowed one alcoholic beverage at a time.
Ward Seven Councilwoman Virgi Lindsay says having the go cup area is akin to being at street festival.
“Even if you’re living across the street from a festival, you can’t take alcoholic beverages in,” she said. “It’s the same kind of thing.”
The rules will be policed by the District’s private security and Jackson police. A special cup will be provided to patrons who wish to take their drinks outside.
Developer Breck Hines said residents he’s spoken to support the new rules.
“Everybody’s been really positive about it. You have a beautiful place for the surrounding area and have pretty good weather seven or eight months a year,” he said. “If you’re waiting for a table at Cantina Laredo or Fine and Dandy, you can have a glass of wine while you wait.
“Anything that helps the District helps the District Lofts. We’re all one team.”
The District Lofts include 260 one, two and three-bedroom apartments, of which about 85 percent have been leased.
The ordinance was introduced by Lindsay and approved on a 5-2 vote.
Voting in favor were Lindsay, Ward One Councilman Ashby Foote and council members Melvin Priester, De’Keither Stamps, Charles Tillman and Aaron Banks.
Voting against it was Ward Three Councilman Kenneth Stokes.
The measure was approved about a year after the Mississippi Legislature approved the District for the leisure and recreation status.
Under state statute, the state must approve legislation allowing the district. It then must be established by city ordinance.
The council approved the ordinance allowing the district, and amended its open container laws to accommodate the area.
Lawmakers also approved allowing the Fondren Business District to have go cup status during the 2016 session.
However leaders in that community have not petitioned the city to put a district in place.
“This would put a heavy burden on our restaurants trying to enforce it,” said Fondren Renaissance Foundation Executive Director Jim Wilkirson said. “It’s different with the District, which is controlled by the developers themselves. But when you have an open neighborhood (like ours), it’s a little different.
“Our restaurants have voted each year to see if they want to pursue (go cups) and each time they said it was not the right time.”
Lindsay said the District is a “very contained area and will be a good opportunity to see what works and what amendments we need to make to the ordinance to make it work better,” she said. “We consider this to be a very manageable first step.”
Thirteen cities now have go cup districts, including Ridgeland, Hattiesburg, Clinton and Laurel. Ridgeland recently approved establishing its first district at the Renaissance at Colony Park.
Lindsay said the administration is now working to identify other areas that would be suitable as go cup districts, to take to the legislature in 2019.
The ordinance will take effect 30 days from its passage.
“We’ve been making preparations for it, ordering supplies and materials. Our marketing folks will start working on outside events to host, so we can bring more people to the District and more people to Jackson,” Hines said.