3 vendors join
By ZEINAB NAJM
Sunday Times Newspapers
TRENTON — TV Grand Event, Round House BBQ and Truago are the first three vendors to join the recently established Downtown Trenton Social District.
The City Council unanimously approved the social district resolution May 17.
The vendor’s permit applications were approved during the City Council’s June 7 meeting. City Administrator Jim Wagner said the application will be posted online, but has already been provided to business in the district.
According to the resolution, the district runs from Atwood to Walnut encompassing Jefferson Avenue, operating from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
Wagner explained that within the designated area, a patron can leave a participating establishment with up to a 16-ounce labeled plastic cup and be able to walk along the street or in the designated area and have the beverage while they walk around.
“This law was opened up in particular because of the whole COVID-19 pandemic to give businesses an opportunity to still be able to make sales and get people out,” he said during a May 17 meeting. “The communities so far that have done it have seen a fair amount of success. There hasn’t been any big documented issues or problems with it.”
Establishments would have to buy the cups and use them exclusively as they dispense to their customers. The cups will have a city label on it that says it’s a social district approved drink.
An up to $10,000 cost for the city from Downtown Development Authority resources would be for covering the signage and markings as required by the state of Michigan so the district area is confined.
Similar districts already exist in Wyandotte, Royal Oak and Lapeer.
“If it doesn’t work, we can always shut it down,” Wagner said. “I think there’s a good plan before you to make it happen and to make it work. It’ll really do something for the businesses who decide to participate that have been hit so hard over the last year and change with the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Wagner also added that the city council can make any adjustments it feels necessary in the future.
Mayor Steven Rzeppa said the new district is a good opportunity. He also said that the vote came before the DDA at a May meeting and ended up as a split 3-3 vote.
“We unfortunately barley had a quorum but I still wanted it to be brought forth to this body because I think that this is something that is very important for our downtown area of the opportunity particularly as it pertains to the street fair at the end of June,” he said.
On July 2, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the Michigan Social District Law which is an open container district created by a local government.
According to a document provided by Wagner, a social district is an area with clearly marked boundaries in which bar and restaurant patrons can consume alcohol within a designated commons area that is outside the walls or patio spaces of licensed establishments.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])