Franklin Street residents express ‘go-cup’ concerns

Published 12:03 am Friday, June 23, 2017


The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ — Residents’ concerns about a possible “go-cup zone” along East Franklin Street ultimately convinced a nightclub owner Thursday to withdraw his request for the zone.

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The public forum at the Natchez City Council Chambers, concerned a potential leisure and recreation district, on Franklin Street between Sixth Street and Auburn Avenue that would allow bar patrons to exit the business with alcoholic beverages.

The new state law that includes several areas of the state, including the City of Natchez, allows municipalities to create zones in which customers of restaurants and bars could legally take alcoholic drinks off the premises provided they stay within a designated zone.

City leaders have been mulling where such a zone should be established for several weeks.City Planner Riccardo Giani organized the forum to establish a dialogue between business owners and residents in the area. After comments from nine residents, Club Paradise owner W.C. Curtis, who originally asked that the go-cup ordinance include his establishment, withdrew his request. The club is located on East Franklin Street.

Ward 4 Alderwoman Felicia Irving, whose ward encompasses East Franklin Street, applauded Curtis for demonstrating “humility.”

“I am just so grateful that Mr. Curtis was considerate to their voices,” Irving said.

Many residents at the meeting shared similar complaints about the area, fearing that the addition of a go-cup zone would only exacerbate already dangerous conditions. Common concerns regarded trash in the area as well as loud noise during hours when many residents are trying to sleep.

“I live in close proximity to that area, so I can relate to everything they said,” Irving said. “I understand all that.”

One resident who lives on Auburn Avenue nearby Club Paradise called it “ridiculous to even consider” establishing a go-cup district in the area.

After hearing these pleas, Curtis not only withdrew his request for a district but also pledged to fix the issues brought up in the meeting.

Regarding the go-cup ordinance, Curtis said his request was based more on principle than economic reasoning. While Curtis said being located in a leisure and recreation district would not “make a big difference,” he felt the original proposed boundaries were not inclusive enough.

No action regarding the ordinance can be taken until the next board of aldermen meeting Tuesday.