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Gettysburg proposes allowing public alcohol consumption around Gettysburg Square

Responding to a request from a local business to allow outdoor public consumption of alcohol, the Gettysburg Borough Council will draft an ordinance allowing people to drink alcohol outside in the area on and within one block of Lincoln Square.

The policy would run for a trial period through New Year’s 2023.

Borough Manager Charles Gable said he had been in contact with officials in Carlisle who said there had only been one violation in the four years they had allowed public consumption of alcohol downtown.

Council member Chris Berger expressed some opposition to the idea, as did Police Chief Robert Glenny.

Glenny said he did not like the idea of making alcohol more available. “I see it as a public safety issue; I see it as problematic,” he said.

The ordinance will specify hours in which alcohol cannot be consumed in public and those hours would likely follow the current noise ordinance.

The council said it would be important for local businesses to inform people about the regulations.

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Charles Stangor is Gettysburg Connection's Publisher and Editor in Chief.

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  • Regarding the alcohol policy-Limitations of one block within the square leaves out a few restaurants like Garry Owen and Food 101. How will that be enforced?

  • Our police will now be on the streets 24/7 watching to see if someone is carrying an alcoholic beverage outside the permitted area? It will never happen and the cost of this unnecessary, unhelpful program will once again be borne by the taxpayers. Thanks for the question, Nancy.

  • Please read this and call or write your borough council representative and show up at Monday night’s meeting. Council plans to vote then on the open container ordinance on Monday, rushing it through as they do all their bad ideas. What is the up side you may ask to allowing people to walk around town drinking alcohol? There is none. And yet the borough manager and his supporters twist themselves into knots comparing Gettysburg to other towns and cities that are nothing like us, trying to convince borough council of this one specious, conclusory and contrived argument: It will be good for business.

    Their ridiculous plan is to sell designated plastic cups to the restaurants in their test zone (the Square and one block off the square) and those are the only cups anyone can walk around with drinking alcohol. So what is to stop a 21 year old from going in a restaurant, buying a drink and then walking around town sharing it with their 19 and 20 year old friends? Or from refilling it from the six-pack in the cooler in their car? Heck, buy 2 or 3 drinks and keep the cups so you and your minor friends can use them again the next day or next week with the beer you bought at Giant. When was the last time you saw a Gettysburg police officer walking the streets of the borough? Are we to believe officers will now regularly be walking our streets all afternoon and into the early morning hours and driving around the square and one block off the square watching to see what cups people are drinking from? Will they be getting out when they see a “foreign” cup and asking to smell what’s in it? What’s to stop tailgating parties on historic Lincoln Square with alcohol purchased at a local store? As long as they have their “legal” cups – which in theory can be save and re-used – they can party all they want.

    It is only a matter of time before one of the minors drinking unsupervised on borough streets will then drive impaired and cause an accident. Maybe when the borough is sued for millions for failing to stop the underage drinking, borough council will see how truly absurd this proposal is, something their Police Chief has tried to tell them. Or better yet: Maybe you can still stop them. Maybe they will listen if enough people speak out against this ordinance. It is worth a try. The people who live here deserve better. Gettysburg deserves better.

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