Bossier business owners keep a hopeful eye on alcohol vote

Bossier business owners keep a hopeful eye on alcohol vote

BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - After several weeks of discussion, a public hearing and a first reading, the Bossier City Council stands ready to take a final vote on an ordinance that would allow people to openly drink alcoholic beverages in some areas.

As amended, the proposal would restrict the sales of alcoholic beverages between 2 and 10 a.m., prohibit consumption in parking lots and garages and require people to have a cup with the logo of the business where they bought it, among other things.

One of those areas is Louisiana Boardwalk.

"The idea that our customers will be able to take their drink outside the restaurant just adds to the entertainment value the Boardwalk has to offer," said Bill McFadden, general manager of Bossier City's riverfront shopping center.

That entertainment value is something he says is necessary to keep places like Louisiana Boardwalk growing and successful.

McFadden added that since the open container ordinance was proposed, he's heard from four different restaurants interested in setting up shop.

The proposed changes also would keep people coming in and staying longer, he argued.

"Forty percent of customers at Louisiana Boardwalk are tourists. The idea that they'd be able to have drink in hand is something they would like a lot."

The proposed area also includes the city's newly opened East Bank District.

"The whole point of what we've done is to create this new environment that is conducive to having open container," said Ben Hart, owner of Flying Heart Brewery.

The brewery has modified its building to bring in foot traffic.

Changing the law could help drive revenue for this business and others.

"Right now, I'm limited to 200 seats. Those fill up and you are done," Hart explained.

"But if someone could get their beverage and walk across to a festival, I could have unlimited customers."

The proposal isn't without controversy.

Some church leaders and even council members worry about maintaining a family atmosphere and policing the area.

Business owners say that won't be an issue.

"If someone stumbles into my establishment that was drinking up the road and they look like they have had too much to drink, it's my responsibility not to serve them anymore," Hart said.

McFadden added: "We expect people to still act responsibly just as we do now. We have great security here at Louisiana Boardwalk."

Bossier City Council members will convene at 3 p.m.Tuesday.

Also on their agenda is a final vote on ride-sharing regulations.

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