August 23, 2014

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Two lawmakers want to create open-container districts in some Ohio cities

CINCINNATI — In the vein of the Las Vegas Strip and the streets of New Orleans, two Ohio lawmakers want the state’s biggest cities to have entertainment districts where revelers can take their alcohol outdoors.

A bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate on Thursday would allow cities with more than 50,000 residents to create areas exempt from Ohio’s law against open containers.

That could mean Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine historic neighborhood, Cleveland’s waterfront area known as The Flats, the Arena District in Columbus and the area around Toledo’s Mud Hens stadium.

The bill’s author, Cincinnati Democratic Sen. Eric Kearney, says it would attract more people to entertainment districts and boost local economies.

The bill says alcohol must be bought within a given district and limits the size of the districts to a half-mile square.