The Greensboro City Council voted down a proposal to expand the downtown social district, called The BORO, by an 8-1 vote at the Tuesday, Jan. 3 meeting.
Councilmember Hugh Holston cast the lone vote in favor of the expansion.
The item had been continued from the Dec. 6 City Council meeting. At that meeting District 3 City Councilmember Zack Matheny voted against the continuance because he said that the City Council shouldn’t consider the proposed expansion at all.
What is officially called a social district is an area where people are allowed to walk around outside with an alcoholic beverage purchased at a participating establishment and in an approved to go cup. People with such a beverage are permitted to walk down the sidewalk and into shops and stores. However, they may not take the alcoholic beverage into another establishment that has an on-premises alcohol consumption license.
At the Jan. 3 meeting, as soon as the item to expand The BORO was read, Matheny made a motion to deny.
The main point of contention was including Center City Park in the social district. The current social district excludes Center City Park but includes LeBauer Park. However, as noted during the discussion, LeBauer Park has kiosks that sell food and alcoholic beverages, which is why it was included.
Matheny, as president of Downtown Greensboro Inc. (DGI), was the driving force behind establishing the downtown social district. He said that a lot of thought and planning went into establishing the current lines for The BORO and that, despite the fact that he is president of DGI and the District 3 city councilmember, he was not consulted or informed about the proposed expansion. He added that during the month the matter has been pending before the City Council, he still had not been contacted about the expansion.
Matheny added, “I don’t see how you can arbitrarily throw in the Tanger Center without discussing it with any city staff, including the city staff that operates the Tanger Center.”
Holston was the lone proponent of including Center City Park in the downtown social district. He said, “I’m really excited about Center City Park being a part of it.”
Councilmember Sharon Hightower also spoke in favor of Center City Park being included in the social district, but because she is opposed to the whole idea of people walking around downtown with alcoholic beverages, she voted in favor of denying the expansion.