ABILENE, Texas (KTAB / KRBC) –The Entertainment District Task Force, looking at the pros and cons of enabling older adults to walk from the restaurant to the downtown venue with beer or wine in hand, met for the second time today.
They invited two business owners, one from the north and one from the south side, to get their perspective.
George Levesque, executive director of the Paramount Theater, says as more restaurants opened in downtown Abilene, he saw crowded parking lots and long waits for dinner.
“And then all of a sudden they deflate around 7 am, they all come to the top, come to a movie, and when they leave, guess what they’re doing? You keep going, ”said Levesque.
And they go to other bars and restaurants.
“I want to see one downtown and I want entertainment, restaurants and culture on both sides of the route,” said local developer Tim Smith.
Task force members asked Smith many questions about driver safety.
“My concern is to get back there safely so we don’t increase our DUI rates and DWI rates,” said a member of the task force.
They also raised concerns about underage alcohol consumption and excessive consumption.
“The cocktails are $ 10-14 a cocktail,” said Smith.
In Smith’s cocktail lounge, he says people aren’t there to get drunk.
“If you want the 99-cent booze, you’re in a different part of town and going to a different place,” Levesque said.
And since opening, Smith hasn’t had any major problems with over-consuming customers.
For this reason, he believes an open container rule is appropriate to meet the city’s long-term goals of promoting downtown businesses.
“If more happens downtown, more happens,” Levesque said.