Let’s get social
City of Negaunee’s downtown is trying something new
NEGAUNEE — A big weekend is ahead in the city of Negaunee as the city and the Downtown Development Authority plan to unveil their new Social District at 5 p.m. Saturday.
The Social District allows for participating licensed businesses to sell alcoholic beverages that customers can legally consume within a designated commons area within the city limits. The city and the DDA were required to receive approval from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission before the district was able to move ahead.
The city will mark the commons area clearly with signage, making it obvious the boundaries of the social district.
Only liquor that has been purchased from an approved, licensed business may be consumed within the commons area. The Social District will feature a distinct, 16-ounce, compostable cup for businesses to use when selling the alcohol. The cups are adorned with a logo that is meant to be instantly recognizable. No external alcohol will be permitted.
“Negaunee’s establishment of a Social District is meant to sustain and grow economic development by supporting local restaurants, microbreweries, bars and similar food services by supplementing outdoor service space,” said Negaunee City Manager Nate Heffron.
In order to get approval for the district, the city and the DDA were subject to several criteria for getting the project off the ground. Some of the criteria includes educational materials, which includes public displays, posters and public notifications.
Oversight was another key aspect to get the Social District moving. The city did that through the cup certifications, working with businesses for troubleshooting potential issues and public communication. This includes additional utilities like extra trash cans, portable toilets, signage and road blocks where required.
Over the past few years, the city of Negaunee has looked for ways to improve commerce in the city with its Moving Forward economic plan.
“Downtown Negaunee provided the legal means for adults to have a drink,” Heffron said. “Our goal is to promote commerce, socialization and overall getting more people to come downtown.”
The city hopes that the Social District will continue to increase traffic in the downtown area, which will lead to sustained economic development.
The Social District will be active from noon to midnight, every day, with a few exceptions, including parades.
Negaunee joins more than 90 other communities that have implemented social districts.
For more information, including a full list of regulations, visit www.cityofnegaunee.com.
Randy Crouch can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. His email address is email@example.com.