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Colorado Springs council mulls district to take drinks outside bars

It might get a little more fun to do some bar hopping in downtown Colorado Springs, as the city is looking at creating an area that would let people carry alcoholic drinks between bars.

The Colorado Springs City Council discussed the creation of a new downtown entertainment district during its regular work session Monday.

The district, to be called the Trolley District, would be a four-square-block area bordered by Cimarron Street, Tejon Street, Cascade Avenue and Moreno Avenue.

The district would include existing and future businesses that sell liquor, and allow customers to carry liquor containers throughout the district.

The district would have the ability to close streets leading into it, and limit pedestrian access, to keep open alcohol containers within the district, and reduce the possibility of people entering or leaving while drunk.

Ari Howard, owner of Streetcar 520–a tavern operating within the proposed district–said she has attended several council meeting hoping members will support the proposal.

“What we had talked about doing also, is combining our patios so that we wouldn’t necessarily have segregated patios,” she said. “It would all be just one big, communal patio that you can walk to and from.”

Indoor businesses, outdoor businesses, an alley and a parking lot for special events would be part of the district.

In the proposed district, outdoor liquor establishments or events in the parking lot or other common consumption areas would close at 11 p.m.—an hour later than the existing ordinance allows—and indoor establishments would close at 2 a.m., the same time as bars and other related establishments.

“People have to realize that downtown is unlike any other entity,” said Councilwoman Jill Gaebler. “It’s designed as a place for the public to gather and enjoy themselves. You have to expect some noise with that. The district has to apply for and receive a noise permit. If noise becomes an issue, we’ll deal with it.”

The district also would have to apply for and receive a noise ordinance. Police would be responsible for enforcing hours of operation in the district.

This would be the first such district in the city. The council expects to vote on the matter next month.

A city ordinance currently open containers of alcohol in public. Violators can be fined $250.

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