• Mount Dora considers open container law for downtown


    LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - Mount Dora leaders have put a vote on hold that would allow open containers in the downtown area.

    It has been talked about since 2016 as a possible way to increase foot traffic and get people to spend more money, particularly during festivals.

    The proposal states that the open container policy could happen Thursdays through Sundays.

    The plan calls for people to take either beer or alcohol in plastic cups from shop-to-shop in the downtown area. 

    Tracy Crognale owns the Las Palmas Cuban restaurant in the downtown area and supports the idea. 

    When she's not behind the bar, she's at council meetings explaining why those happy hour drinks should be taken beyond this restaurant. 

    “They would feel more comfortable if they know they don't have to chug it while they're having a 20 to 30-minute lunch,” she said.

    If passed, people will be able to order a drink at a restaurant and walk with booze in a 16-ounce clear plastic cup Thursdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

    The proposed area goes from State Road 46 and south to Lake Dora and Baker streets heading west to the lake. 
    The current plan doesn't mention  street closures, similar to special events like Arts Fest.  

    Some worry the proposal is asking for trouble. 

    “I'm concerned about crime. I'm concerned about fights and the effect alcohol has on people. That's a little nerve-wracking,” said business manager Magie Woodward.  

    For that purpose, the proposal states $112,000 will be needed for a new police officer, which includes salary, benefits and equipment.

    The city is also considering hiring a part-time parks staff member for $25,000 a year.

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