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Downtown social district? Mooresville leaders give the OK to public drinking zone

Social districts — which allow the drinking of alcohol outside of bars and restaurants — are a hot new trend in North Carolina as towns look to generate revenue.

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Mooresville town leaders unanimously approved a new social district that would allow the drinking of alcohol outside of restaurants and bars where it was purchased. The council discussed the plan Monday night.

“I think it’s going to have a positive impact," Robert Grosskopf, co-owner of Mooresville cocktail lounge 158 on Main, said. 

Social districts are the newest trend popping up across North Carolina, thanks to a new state law. Several cities and towns in the Charlotte area, including Cornelius, Hickory and Kannapolis, have added them as a way to increase revenue for small businesses working in unison. 

“I’ve spoken to a lot of other business owners who’ve interacted with their police department and say there’s been zero uptick in any crime or any injuries because it’s not an open invitation to drink beer on the street right, you have to have a cup from a restaurant, it has to have the right logo on it, it has to have the town's stamp on it,” Grosskopf said. 

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The proposed Mooresville social district would run from McLelland Avenue to Highway 3, including North Church Street, North Main Street and North Broad Street. Click here for a map provided by the town of Mooresville

The Mooresville social district will operate from noon until 10 p.m. seven days a week. At all other times, all state and local laws regarding public consumption and possession of alcohol would be enforced. 

Alcohol purchased within the social district would be required to have the following: 

  • Clearly identified container naming the business it was purchased
  • Must display a logo or some other mark that is unique to the social district
  • Containers must not be glass
  • Containers must display the statement "Drink Responsibly -- Be 21"
  • No more than 16 ounces

Grosskopf is the co-owner of several businesses in downtown Moorseville, including 158 on Main. He believes the social district will not only help his business by selling more, but it will make customers want to come back.

“It creates an experience and I think that’s what all these serve industries restaurants and our included are trying to do, it's not just about serving food and drinks," Grosskopf said. 

It's an experience Charlotte is hoping to create, as well. 

“Unlike some of the other communities that have done it, we anticipate that there will be more than one in Charlotte potentially,” District 1 Charlotte City Councilman Larken Egleston said. 

The city of Charlotte is currently working to adopt an ordinance designating social districts, including district boundaries, signage, and hours of operation.

The goal is to give every part of Charlotte an opportunity to apply because there are a handful of social hubs. 

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Here's what would have to happen before Charlotte could get a social district

"It's South Park, Plaza Midwood, it's Camp North End, South End whenever it might be, each of those areas can identify a specific part of their neighborhood that they think would be appropriate, come up with a plan and present that to the city," Egleston said. 

On June 27, Charlotte City Council will review the social district ordinance. On July 11, they will recommend council adoption. Come mid-July city applications are expected to open. 

In Mooresville, the social district will start July 11. 

Click here for a complete list of guidelines for Mooresville's newly-approved social district

Contact Lexi Wilson at lwilson@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

WCNC Charlotte is always asking "where's the money?" If you need help, reach out to WCNC Charlotte by emailing money@wcnc.com.   

WCNC Charlotte is committed to reporting on the issues facing the communities we serve. We tell the stories of people working to solve persistent social problems. We examine how problems can be solved or addressed to improve the quality of life and make a positive difference. WCNC Charlotte is seeking solutions for you. Send your tips or questions to newstips@wcnc.com.

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