MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - Starting this fall, Mercer fans could be able to drink alcohol downtown on football gamedays.
Macon's Public Safety Committee voted Monday to allow open containers in Tattnall Square Park and in a section of Cherry Street when Mercer plays at home.
Last month, the committee tabled an ordinance that would have allowed much more widespread drinking downtown, after council members questioned who would pay for cleanup and security. Monday's version was amended to make the zone a much smaller area.
Main Street Macon Manager Mechel McKinley told council members Monday Mercer football will generate an estimated $6,500,000 a year for middle Georgia, but some council members still weren't sold on the idea.
Most questions centered around security and traffic enforcement. Some members didn't like the idea of having so many of the city's officers at the tailgating spots. They worried about citizens in other parts of the city who might not have as quick a response time when they needed it during emergencies.
Despite the lengthy discussion, the committee voted 4-1 in favor of the item. Henry Gibson voted against it.
"We want this to work out," says Virgil Watkins, Jr., chairman of the Public Safety Committee. "But at the same time, we don't want to totally neglect the rest of our citizens to make it happen. That's what you were hearing from a lot of council members--myself included."
The full council will vote on the ordinance Tuesday at its 6 p.m. meeting.