TOPEKA (KSNT) – The City of Topeka has requested the Kansas legislature expand the state’s common consumption bill.
If passed, it would modify the current law to allow more flexibility in the community.
When putting together the 2023 agenda, members of the public suggested common consumption of alcohol would attract more young people to events in downtown and in the North Topeka Arts District (NOTO).
So, the city decided to listen to the people and bring this to the attention of state law makers.
If passed, the city would figure out an ordinance for how common consumption zones would work. It would include time of day, place and what businesses would take part.
“That would all be discussed at the local level by the governing body after talking to citizens and the business communities to figure out what works best for us,” City Attorney of Topeka Amanda Stanley said. “And those could be different areas depending on lets say in NOTO you want a different day than Thursday night concerts downtown for example. So, there’s lots of flexibility in there for making it work best for Topeka.”
In the past, the owners of Studio 62 Art Bar in NOTO say strict alcohol laws have hurt their business.
“We have had people that say, ‘can we take this to go,'” Cies Smith said. “No, you can’t take it to go. Okay will I’m not gonna get anything, or I’m just gonna get a soda, which lowers our sales.”
If the bill passes the Kansas legislature, Stanley says it will do more than bring in dollars for businesses.
“Its economic impact to your community as a whole,” Stanley said. “If you can have an event and buy food and walk down the street you are naturally going to stay in the location longer.”
Smith says this would create the perfect opportunity for the community to support local businesses.
“I feel like if we could all work together, like, people could bar hop,” Smith said. “Like, oh I’m gonna have a drink here and then walk down the road and get something at The Wheel Barrel or The Norsemen. I think it would be helpful.”
This bill will go before the Kansas state legislature on Tuesday, Jan. 31. If passed, it may require any public streets be blocked off from traffic during times when public consumption is allowed.