Raleigh launches first-ever Social District Monday

ByJamiese Price via WTVD logo
Monday, August 15, 2022
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Raleigh is preparing to launch its first-ever social district, Sip n' Stroll Downtown on Monday, August 15th.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Raleigh is preparing to launch its first-ever social district, Sip n' Stroll Downtown on Monday.

The social district is a designated area in downtown where people can drink beer, wine , or cocktails as they walk the streets. Alcohol purchased inside the new area can be carried outside a bar or restaurant.

Nina Borji, who was downtown on Sunday night said this move could be good for the city.

"Drinks are expensive and it sucks to have to throw it out when you leave a bar," Borji said.

She just moved to Raleigh from St. Louis where she described a similar experience.

" I remember when it first happened we thought it was gonna be really bad because we just assume that people would be out drinking as a bad thing but it wasn't," Borji explained.

So far, 66 business owners have opted-in to the pilot program. City leaders are also answering questions people have that range from concerns over litter to public intoxication in the new social district.

"That has been a frequent question we've gotten," said Whitney Schoenfeld, who serves as Raleigh's interim senior manager for the office of Emergency Management. "Through our research with talking with other cities, that really hasn't been an issue. Same thing with trash and litter. We know that there are concerns there, we have deployed 40 recycling bins as of right now throughout the boundaries, but we're really gonna monitor it and see how to see how it goes."

The boundaries for the district begin in the north at Morgan Street in front of the State Capitol Building and run south all the way to Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. It also runs west to east from McDowell Street to Blount Street.

"The goal is really to help support our local businesses, especially in the Fayetteville Street area, which has seen it's not come back as lively as an area, like Glenwood south. For instance, we really want to bring people back downtown, and having and helping to support our businesses," said Schoenfeld.

The social district will operate seven days a week from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.