The Ohio Senate voted 32-0 Wednesday to allow drinkers to carry open alcohol containers in specified entertainment districts.
The bill would allow cities with populations ranging from 35,000 to 50,000 to create one area where people could legally walk outside with open containers of alcohol. Cities with more than 50,000 residents could create two outdoor refreshment areas.
The bill now goes back to the House because of Senate changes, and then it heads off to Gov. John Kasich.
Fifteen cities and townships in the Miami Valley would be eligible to create the districts if the law passes.
The local cities that could be impacted are Dayton, Hamilton, Springfield, Kettering, Middletown, Beavercreek, Fairfield and Huber Heights. Townships impacted would be West Chester, Washington, Beavercreek, Miami, Bath, Liberty and Deerfield.
People could legally buy and drink alcohol within the areas, but wouldn’t be allowed to bring their own drinks.
Areas that would be eligible to be entertainment districts include area’s such as Dayton’s Oregon District, Austin Landing in Miami Twp. and Voice of America Centre in West Chester Twp. City and township governments would have to designate the areas first.
Dayton City Manager Warren Price said the city is keeping an eye on the issue.
“It can be a double-edged sword certainly. There are advantages to commerce, this could be a good thing. But it can also if not well managed, be a bad thing,” Price said. “So we’re thinking about it.”
The amended version included a section to allow cities with populations of 35,000 or less to create one district after meeting certain requirements. The House needs to weigh in on that issue before the bill moves ahead.
Supporters want the districts approved before Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game on July 14 in Cincinnati.
WHIO TV reporters Mike Campbell and Adam Marshall contributed to this story.
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