Yesterday the Pine Bluff Commercial reported the Pine Bluff City Council’s Development and Planning Committee recently voted to permit public drinking in the city’s outdoor entertainment district.

The entire city council must vote on the measure in order to approve it.

Earlier this year the Arkansas Legislature narrowly passed Act 812 by Sen. Trent Garner (R – El Dorado) and Rep. Sonia Barker (R – Smackover). The act lets cities create “entertainment districts” where alcohol can be carried and consumed publicly on streets and sidewalks.

The Pine Bluff proposal reportedly would allow public drinking in from 2nd Avenue to 4th Avenue and State Street to Main.

As we have said before, entertainment districts raise serious concerns about public safety.

Cities like Memphis and New Orleans have had significant problems with violence in their entertainment districts, and public drinking and intoxication also raise concerns about drunk driving in surrounding neighborhoods.

If we really want to improve our communities, letting people drink on city streets and sidewalks simply is not the way to do it.