Forsyth residents discuss city’s new alcohol policy
Visitors to downtown Forsyth will soon have a new liberty.
The City Council on April 15 approved an entertainment district that includes the courthouse square and surrounding blocks. It will allow people in the district to carry alcoholic drinks in designated cups sold by the city.
Mayor Eric Wilson said the idea and policy grew out of a visit to the city of Monroe. Officials there said it had been working out well and there had been no problems.
Wilson and others, including downtown business owners, said they hope it will bring a more vibrant nightlife to downtown. It could particularly help bring more people to regular concerts held on the square by Forsyth Main Street, they said.
“I think the idea is to make a more pedestrian downtown,” Wilson said.
Open containers will be allowed in the district from 5-11 p.m. Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.
The policy will go into effect as soon as the cups come in, hopefully within a couple of weeks, Tammie Pierson, Main Street director, said. The price of the cups has not been determined, but proceeds from the sales will go to Main Street, which works to develop and promote the downtown area.
Restaurants that serve alcohol in the district will buy the cups in which customers would get their drinks.
Downtown has some popular, independent restaurants, each with different offerings. Jeremy Seymour, owner of The Pickled Okra restaurant and bar on the square, said he hopes the new alcohol policy will lead to people moving from restaurant to restaurant to try a little at each.
“It should bring in more customers not only to us, but also to small shops around the area,” he said. “I’m real excited that they passed it. It’s going to help us grow as a community.”
Cheri Wiggins Lance, president of the Forsyth-Monroe Chamber of Commerce, said she did not know of another city in Middle Georgia that has such a policy. She said chamber members have been supportive of the idea.
“I think the entertainment district will allow for more activity after normal business hours,” she said. “It will give it more of a nightlife than what we already have.”
Eric Thomas, owner of Jonah’s on Johnston Pizzeria just of the square, went to the meeting when the new policy was approved, and said he didn’t hear any opposition.
“I love it,” he said as he made a sandwich during lunch Wednesday. “I think it’s progressive. I think it shows trust in your citizens when they say ‘We trust you to go out and have a nice time.’”