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Ohio hopes to spur economic development with public drinking

Revellers outside BB King's Blues Club on Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee where open containers of alcohol in the entertainment district is permitted.
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Booze could soon be used to churn economic development in Ohio communities like Cincinnati.

A bipartisan "open container" bill that would allow people to openly drink on the streets has a good chance of passage in coming months, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported Friday.

A number of cities nationwide, including Memphis, Louisville and Montgomery, Ala., have already adopted similar bills.

Leslie Gower, spokeswoman for the Downtown Memphis Commission, said Memphis' Beale Street is the ultimate success story. "Beale Street is Tennessee's top tourism destination, and that's largely because of the alcohol," Gower said. "It goes into creating a festive environment."

Members of the Downtown Residents Council have mixed views on the bill, according to President Craig Hudson. "Anything that creates more activity we're in favor of, but from a trash and rowdiness standpoint there was some concern," he said.

Sponsoring state Sen. Eric Kearney is reworking the bill and expects a committee vote late this year or some time in March when the General Assembly returns.

Click here to read the full story from The Cincinnati Enquirer.