Last week the Mountain Home City Council considered a proposed ordinance that would legalize public drinking downtown.
Earlier this year the Arkansas Legislature passed Act 812 by Sen. Trent Garner (R – El Dorado) and Rep. Sonia Barker (R – Smackover). The new law — which takes effect July 24 — lets cities create “entertainment districts” where alcohol can be carried and consumed publicly on streets and sidewalks.
The proposed ordinance currently under consideration in Mountain Home would allow public drinking from 4:30 PM to midnight over the course of several blocks in the city’s historic downtown.
To put it simply: Public drinking won’t encourage new businesses to locate in downtown Mountain Home.
Public drinking in entertainment districts raises serious concerns about public safety.
Cities like Memphis and New Orleans have had significant problems with violence in their entertainment districts.
Public drinking and intoxication also raise concerns about drunk driving in the neighborhoods surrounding the entertainment district.
Communities really should think twice before embracing public drinking — and the problems that come with it.
Jerry is the founder and president of Family Council. He began Family Council in 1989 after a successful effort to amend the Arkansas Constitution to prevent the use of public funds for abortions. He and his wife reside in Little Rock. They have four sons.