Helena downtown businesses offer support for open container prop - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Helena downtown businesses offer support for open container proposal

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HELENA - Some downtown Helena businesses, including Ten Mile Creek Brewery, Bad Betty's Barbecue, The Painted Pot and Gulch Distillers are in support of an open container liquor proposal.

Gulch Distillers owner Steffen Rasile said he supports anything that helps the community.

"We are a very small town with not much of a nightlife, so if rules can be changed to increase the number of people that are coming downtown, it will help all the businesses down here," he said.

Rasile believes businesses including bars, restaurants, tasting rooms and retail shops can benefit from the proposal.

"More people on the street equals more business," Rasile said.

The proposal would allow open containers of alcohol in select downtown areas and containers would be limited to plastic.

Kevin Hamm said he created the proposal and has worked with businesses downtown about the law for a while.

"It doesn't turn us into a party town," Hamm said. "It's not a '24-hour-a-day, you-can-drink-and-do-whatever-it-is-you-want' downtown."

He added that it would be nice for people to grab a drink and walk to the museum to look at art or to check out the shopping options.

"It's not an open license to party. It's simply a chance for adults to be adults and not be anchored to a business," Hamm said.

According to Rasile, Front Street, where his business is located, is often passed by and the proposal could bring more people from the rest of downtown to the area.

"The perfect way to connect this area to downtown," Rasile said.

Helena City Manager Ron Alles said the city just recently received the petition and needs to speak to the City Commission as well as research Montana liquor laws before taking further action.

Alles added that they will go over the proposal during their next Wednesday morning administration meeting.

The areas for the ordinance include:

  • Last Chance Gulch from Lawrence through the Walking Mall and up to Pioneer Park extending west to include the parking lot on Park and the crossings and sidewalks of Park from the Library back down to Broadway
  • The parking lot and street west of the Helena Hotel (Park Plaza Hotel) and the alley behind the Rialto and Power Block
  • 6th Avenue from the Power Block to the Walking Mall
  • Great Northern Boulevard from the Cinemark to the Carousel 
  • Front Street from 14h Street to Neill Avenue
  • Neill Avenue crossing from Front Street to the Gulch
  • Fuller Avenue from Neill Avenue to 6th Avenue 
  • Lawrence Street from Grandstreet Theatre to Holter Museum

The ordinance will take place during the following times:

  • Monday-Friday: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Saturday-Sunday: 12 p.m. to 10 p.m
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