Aug 11, 2022 - News

Durham's own social district in the works

Proposed Durham social district 🍻
Data: Downtown Durham Inc; Map: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

Durham could follow Raleigh into the social district game.

Driving the news: Downtown Durham Inc., the nonprofit that manages the downtown Durham business district, told Axios that it is proposing a downtown social district to the city council.

  • Raleigh's social district pilot begins on Aug. 15.
  • Unlike Raleigh, Durham's proposal — unless it is altered — would cover the entirety of the downtown Durham district, at least how it is defined by the boundaries of Downtown Durham Inc.'s business improvement district.

In a survey, Downtown Durham Inc. found that 80% of downtown businesses thought the social district was a good idea.

  • In the same survey, though, many expressed concerns about the social district causing rampant drinking and nuisance behavior.

Yes, but: The proposal is still in its early stages and the boundaries could change, Gina Rozier, a spokesperson for DDI, told Axios in an email.

Context: Social districts allow people to take alcoholic drinks on the go in certain parts of cities, meaning one could leave a bar and walk to a nearby shop while still drinking.

  • Many cities are hoping they will lead to increased foot traffic and sales in their downtown cores.
  • Last year, the state passed a law to give cities leeway to create social districts.

What's next: Durham Council Member Leonardo Williams said the proposal could be debated during the next two council meetings.

  • "It's coming, but we are scrutinizing this thing hard so we can ensure that the rollout is proper," Williams told Axios.
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