Home News-Free Open container plans face new challenge

Open container plans face new challenge

A new proposed ordinance would allow open containers in the Festival Plaza and East Bank District.

The Bossier City Council spent months debating the issue before adopting an ordinance to allow open containers of alcohol in the Festival Plaza Region of the East Bank District in downtown. Now they must consider a special permit to allow vendors to provide those open containers.

Alcohol and Tobacco Control regulations prohibit patrons from leaving restaurants with alcoholic beverages in open containers. Only businesses designated as bars can provide open containers.

“We have a district where you can have open containers in at this point, but we don’t have a place you can get an open container,” said Pam Glorioso, Bossier City Chief Administrative Officer.

City Attorney Jimmy Hall said in the council’s Dec. 20 meeting that he was made aware of the regulation by Ben Hart, co-owner of Flying Heart Brewing and Pub. He said Hart was informed of the regulation by ATC officials during Flying Heart’s transition from a distribution brewery to a brew pub/restaurant.

The remedy for the Festival Plaza District is a Special Events Alcohol Permit that would allow the holder to sell open containers for special events there. The council will vote on such an ordinance at its March 6 meeting.

On a related note, the council defeated a proposed ordinance that would have allowed the city to enter into an agreement with Gumbeaux Event Productions to manage festivals and events in the East Bank District and Festival Plaza.

The ordinance included a monthly fee of $5,500 that would be paid from the city’s Hotel-Motel Tax Funds budget. The agreement would have covered management and programming for events in the District, including the cost of equipment for events, security, clean-up and marketing and promotion. Gumbeaux Event Productions also would have managed the licenses and alcohol permits to ensure that state law was being followed.

Glorioso said during the council meeting that the proposed agreement with Gumbeaux brought expertise and resources that the city does not have in planning and executing special events.

“We don’t have the wherewithal, we don’t have the manpower, we don’t have the knowledge of dealing with the organizations and the agencies that are involved in the special permitting, where Gumbeaux Productions does,” she said.

And while the council agreed that the services are needed, some council members expressed interest in exploring what other event production companies in the area might be able to offer.

“You would consider that competition is good,” said Council President Jeff Darby. “I think that would be advantageous in this situation, starting from the ground up. You may have others that have the same expertise that you have, that could offer the same services, maybe at a lower fee.”

The city council also unanimously adopted a resolution to commit $250,000 annually for 12 years for a total of $3 million toward the completion of the Interstate 20/I-220 interchange into Barksdale Air Force Base.

By Scott Anderson