Created: Mon, 05 Aug 2013 09:15:00 EST
Updated: Mon, 05 Aug 2013 11:37:24 EST
Macon City Council's Public Safety Committee voted 4-1 Monday to allow people to carry open alcohol containers when tailgating before Mercer Football games this Fall. Tailgating in downtown Macon and other areas of the city is expected to generate millions of dollars in economic impact for the city according to Main Street Macon Manager Mechel McKinley.
"We really want everybody to turn out in their black and orange and get into the spirit of having a football team here in our hometown again," McKinley said.
The designated open container areas include a roughly nine block square of downtown Macon, Tattnall Square Park, and Mercer Village.
"They feel like it will add some fluidity to people coming and going from different restaurants and different locations in downtown as well as it will just add to the festive atmosphere, both in downtown and Mercer Village," McKinley said.
McKinley foresees the festive atmosphere to generate $6.5 million in economic impact for the city during Mercer's eight home games.
While the money coming back to the city is welcomed, the strain downtown tailgating may have on the city's trash disposal services and police department was a point of contention for at least one city council member Monday.
"We were able to put together some information that they asked for in our last meeting. we got them some information about cleanup and also about public safety, and I feel like we were able to answer those today," McKinley said.
McKinley says cleaning up after 8 games of tailgating would cost the city $34,000, and nearly half the city's on-the-job police force would be working the event, a situation that former police captain and lone dissenting vote Henry Gibson didn't seem too fond of.
"Everybody is entitled to their own opinion and I hope we were able to answer some of Mr. Gibson's questions, but i think in general we have the support of the community, and the support of council," McKinley said.
The full City Council will take up the issue during Tuesday's scheduled meeting.