Property

Split Gainesville commission votes to ban drinking on public property

A split Gainesville city commission did an about-face on Thursday and moved forward to reinstate a ban on outdoor drinking on public property after the police chief described the department’s ongoing struggles with crowd control at pop-up parties.

The move will take a pair of readings before being finalized.

The 4-3 decision was made despite some elected leaders noting that the issue of block parties and crowds has been an issue prior to allowing people to drink freely in the streets.

Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe said police were largely ticketing Black and homeless people, saying the law then was “dumb” and “highly discriminatory.”

“The fact that I can drink a beer in my driveway but (the moment) I step out into my road and I’m a criminal is absurd,” Poe said. “The fact that I grab a glass of wine at Side Bar at Depot Park but the minute I step across an imaginary line I’m a criminal is absurd.”

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