Plaza Midwood approved as Charlotte’s first social district

Plaza Midwood approved as Charlotte’s first social district

Photo: Alexandria Sands/Axios

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Charlotte City Council gave the OK Monday night for Plaza Midwood businesses to launch a social districta place where people can legally drink alcohol in the street.

Why it matters: Soon after social districts were legalized, Plaza Midwood establishments offered to be the guinea pig for Charlotte. The neighborhood and the city have discussed launching a social district there for over a year now.

  • Now that the first social district is approved, it’s likely we’ll see others rolling out in different parts of town. NoDa, South End and Montford and other neighborhoods are looking into the idea.

Plus, it’s not all about the booze. Proponents expect Plaza Midwood to get a boost in business and foot traffic from the district. It could also draw crowds to festivals.

The other side: Council member LaWana Mayfield said the city needed to address ongoing concerns about public intoxication first. Reneé Perkins Johnson also voted against it.

  • In a retort, Danté Anderson, whose District 1 includes Plaza Midwood, said city staff and the overwhelming majority of the neighborhood are in support of the social district.
  • “I don’t want us to operate in a mode of fear,” Anderson said.

Of note: Charlotte trails other cities and towns in implementing social districts. Kannapolis, Asheboro, Greensboro, Monroe, Salisbury and Cornelius all have social districts up and running.

[Go deeper: Montford, Elizabeth and NoDa join list of hopeful social district neighborhoods]

Here are five things to know about Plaza Midwood’s social district.

1. The district won’t start immediately.

  • It will definitely be up and running by spring, a Plaza Midwood Merchants Association representative tells us. There’s still a lot more work to do and materials to be purchased.
  • There will be a soft opening at some point.

2. Central Avenue will be the primary hub.

  • The social district boundaries are mainly along Central Avenue, from Sip City to Morningside Pub. It also includes parts of Pecan Avenue, including Cheat’s Cheesesteaks.

3. There will be hours.

  • The district hours are 10am to 10pm. Sorry, night owls.

4. Who will manage the district?

  • There will be an oversight committee made up of members from the merchant’s association and surrounding neighborhood groups.

5. To-go drinks will be sold in reusable stainless-steel cups.

  • A sticker will indicate where and when it was purchased.
  • You can take your empty cups to participating establishments and trade them in for a new cup with a fresh sticker.
  • You can also drop off used cups at collection sites throughout the social district. Envision Charlotte, a nonprofit organization, will make sure they’re reused.
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