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NEWS: Mayor Barlow Proposes Social District For Oswego

todayMarch 27, 2022 89 2

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    NEWS: Mayor Barlow Proposes Social District For Oswego Jarrad Wakefield

OSWEGO, NY- Oswego mayor Billy Barlow is proposing a social district for the city of Oswego. The district is proposed to run from west second street to east second street and from Utica Street to the Lake Ontario shoreline. Barlow says the proposed district will allow citizens to take alcoholic drinks out of city restaurants and bars to walk with their drink through downtown. The district will operate between June first and October first from noon to midnight daily. Barlow says that the idea will provide a boost to local business and make spending a day in the city easier for citizens and tourists alike.

Barlow feels that the social district will add more incentive for people to head downtown.

“It creates a new energy, makes it easier to walk around the community, and it gives people an opportunity to enjoy some of things we have to offer here all in one night rather than being tied to a specific place if you want to have a drink or you want to continue to have a bite to eat”, said Barlow.

Barlow says the idea for the social district comes in the wake of changes made to state liquor laws during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the 2020 shutdown, state officials made alcohol-to-go sales temporarily legal to allow establishments to do business during the shutdown. However, the district received some public criticism at Monday night’s planning and development committee hearing on the proposal. Oswego resident Dick Atkins says that the district could cause chaos in the city during the summer.

“I don’t want these people standing outside of my building, my front lawn, shouting out and having a good time and whooping it up.”, said Atkins. “I’m sorry, you don’t know what’s going to happen at 11 o’clock or 12 o’clock at night. You don’t know where this beer or these cups are going to be coming from.”

Barlow says that a lot of the concern from city residents comes from a misunderstanding of how the district will work in the city.

“I think there’s a bit of confusion where people think that we’re lifting the open container ordinance.”, said Barlow. “That’s not what we’re talking about.”

The committee passed the proposal on Monday night with a few minor changes. New boundaries for the district shorten the eastern half of the district. The district will now only go to Oneida Street, instead of to the Lake Ontario shoreline. The western half of the district still goes from Utica street to the lake to include Breitbeck Park. In addition, the eastern boundary now extends to include Azteca Mexican Grill on the corner of Bridge and Third streets. The Oswego common council will vote on a public hearing for the proposal at their upcoming Monday meeting.

Written by: Jarrad Wakefield

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