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Northgate Merchants Sound Off On Ordinance

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There is grumbling on Northgate today as the news of an open container ban is spreading.

The controversy over the new ordinance is still brewing, and merchants are reluctant to back the ordinance 100 percent.

City council worked long and hard to come up with a new ordinance they believe will reduce alcohol related crime at Northgate.

But the popular strip's most legendary bar, is not satisfied.

"We here at Dixie Chicken feel there were more options that could have been explored," says Dixie Chicken General Manager Joe Parker.

The ordinance bans kegs or open containers from being consumed on the promenade, even if it was purchased from a bar.

"We don't agree with the total ban, we do agree with the no kegs, no coolers. However, we do intend to uphold the ruling as it stands," says Parker.

As do other Northgate vendors.

But while bar owners are being more polite about the ban, students are not.

"I think it's a bad idea. I'm a Northgate faithful and bars are extremely crowded, just let us drink out there," says student Omar Valdez.

"I don't really agree with it. If the cops would do what they're supposed to do we could all go out on Northgate and drink some beer together," says student Dusty White.

Patrons will still be able to drink on back porches and patios along Northgate but once you bring a drink on the promenade you can get slapped with a misdemeanor.

The ticket could cost up to $500.

Some students think that type of punishment will help solve safety and sanitary problems.

"I guess it's for the best, because a lot of stuff does happen out here when people have too much to drink," says student Andy Medina.

"There's been a lot of controversy about it, but I think a lot of people just come out here to hang out so it will change the atmosphere," says student Kasey Hand.

And while council doesn't want to change what is unique about Northgate, they say they'll continue to do what's best for all College Station residents.

The ordinance will not be enforced for another 60 days so police can let the public know just what the rules are.

The city council plans to meet with Northgate merchants to discuss enforcement and possible exceptions to the ordinance.

Business owners say they will have to wait and see if the ordinance will affect business.