CARY, N.C. (WNCN) — Along with the opening of its highly-anticipated downtown park, the Town of Cary is also set to open its first-ever social district next year.

The unanimous approval of the council came Thursday night, giving the green light for the district to be in effect next summer. The district will be in effect on June 1 or the opening day of Downtown Cary Park, whichever comes later, according to the town code amendment.

The social district will include the entire footprint of the park and will also extend to adjacent businesses, including The Mayton and Cotton House Craft Brewers.

The district will initially allow for the purchase and consumption of only wine and beer and will operate from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., according to Joy Ennis, the General Manager of Downtown Cary Park.

The district will not include the Cary Regional Library, the parking deck or private events that wish to opt out of the district.

In a previous meeting, Ennis pointed to the logistics behind the idea to amend Cary’s ordinances to create the district.

“The park does not have well-defined vertical boundaries to easily control where people can carry and consume these beverages,” said Ennis. “Given these nuances, we knew that a unique approach to alcohol consumption at the park was needed.”

As for the question to why the creation of a social district is recommended by Cary staff, Ennis said there are many, including:

  • Simplifying enforcement and logistical challenges
  • Reinforcing no outside alcohol
  • Reinforcing no glass off premises of permitted businesses
  • Potential to increase the permitted businesses’ profitability
  • Potential to attract new business

The council approved the district as part of its consent agenda on Thursday with no further discussion.