GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Grand Rapids City Commission approved the first social districts, which would create specific areas where people can drink in public.
The first social districts will be located downtown at Monroe North, outside the Van Andel Arena, Bridge Street, and on Wealthy Street between Union and Eastern.
The districts compliment the already established 'social zones,' which Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (DGRI) and the city created as a way to expand capacity for local businesses by blocking off streets and filling them with tables and chairs. 'Social districts' were part of a bill signed off on by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in the beginning of July, that same bill also made to-go cocktails legal. It gives local governments the authority to designate areas where people can consume beverages off site.
The plans must now be approved by the Michigan Liquor and Control Commission (MLCC), as well as 23 permit applications for restaurants and bars within the social districts.
The social districts will not go into effect until the city files plans with the MLCC and the MLCC issues the first social district permit to a qualified licensee, the city said.
Officials intend to submit district plans with MLCC in the next couple days.
More information, including maps of the social districts, can be found here. Businesses who wish to participate in a district must be licensed by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission, receive approval by the city commission and apply for a permit with the MLCC.
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