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Mount Dora OKs downtown entertainment district

MOUNT DORA — The wait is over for those looking forward to walking around downtown Mount Dora not only in good spirits, but with spirits in hand.

City Council members voted 4-3 Tuesday to adopt an ordinance that will form an entertainment district downtown that allows for open containers in the district.

Councilwoman Laurie Tillett and Councilmen Cal Rolfson and Harmon Massey dissented.

At the meeting, one resident spoke on behalf of the ordinance, saying that downtown restaurants and businesses will benefit from it. Another resident spoke against it, saying that costs that might arise for things associated with the district are not beneficial to residents.

A discussion by council members followed, starting with a proposal from Tillett that the ordinance be amended to adopt an open container agreement or to have an entertainment district only during festivals and special events.

But the council voted for the seven-days-a-week district, with the understanding that it can be terminated at any time.

City Manager Robin Hayes asked that the program be watched for a year before it is evaluated.

She said that would allow sufficient time to study its benefits, successes and problems and compare its effects during various times.

The matter is something the council has been contemplating for over a year.

“I think it is long overdue for Mount Dora. I think the time has absolutely come for us to visit this,” Councilman John Tucker said, adding that he spends a lot of time downtown and feels he has a pulse for the area. “I’m downtown a great deal and I don’t see how especially on a trial period, this is going to affect the city at all.”

The idea behind the entertainment district is that people would be allowed to carry a drink with them from one participating business to the next in outside areas within

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