- Associated Press - Saturday, May 2, 2015

CINCINNATI (AP) - The city of Cincinnati wants suggestions on the best places to establish outdoor refreshment districts, where people can walk around outside with open containers of alcohol.

Gov. John Kasich signed a bill Thursday to let some cities create the areas. It was signed as an emergency measure to take effect immediately, but Cincinnati officials say they aren’t rushing their decision.

Locals had earlier talked about getting the district in time for Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game in Cincinnati on July 14. But city officials say that MLB and the Reds already had secured special event permits. Similar permits have allowed open containers during “block party” celebrations of the Reds’ Opening Day near the stadium.

City officials say they want community input on boundaries, safety considerations, signage and operational issues such as trash collection.

“This is a great opportunity for interested neighborhoods to highlight the potential benefits of such a district,” City Manager Harry Black said. “We want to get as many people involved in the process as possible to ensure the ultimate decision reflects the wishes of the community.”

The city said after proposals are received and considered, the city manager will send recommendations to the city council. The public will have a chance to comment before the matter goes to a vote. The State of Ohio Division of Liquor Control would then issue necessary permits.

The idea behind the legislation is to allow for entertainment districts similar to Bourbon Street in New Orleans and Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee.

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