Lancaster, N.Y. (WBEN) - Effective Sunday, The Village of Lancaster will allow open containers of alcohol on the streets in attempts to attract more business to the area.
According to Lancaster Mayor Lynne Ruda, this is something that business owners have been asking the village board about for years.
Listen to WBEN now!
"Pretty much as long as I've been on the board. I was a trustee for four years. And now in my second year as mayor, they thought that it would be something that would help bring people into our community," said Mayor Ruda.
"We weren't positive that we were ready yet. Four or five years ago, our downtown looked really different. It felt really different. We've been very fortunate and working really hard to bring funding into our downtown, which has added a new West Main Street extension. We've added roundabouts and are seeing businesses come in to our our vacant properties, we've seen new buildings go up. Now, we're really starting to get momentum in terms of having a strong downtown core and felt like this was the next step in helping the economic vitality of this area."
Not only have the business owners in Lancaster felt the sting of the "stay at home" mantra during the pandemic years, they dealt with the construction projects where major parts of the downtown were ripped up.
"It was kind of one two punch for all of our merchants. They were incredible. They were so creative on how they've worked through the COVID restrictions. They were very accommodating, very supportive and understanding as we had those growing pains through the construction," said the mayor.
Now, joining villages and towns like Evans, Angola and East Aurora in allowing open containers, this gives Lancaster businesses a little more creativity in events they can hold, which could stand to reason a spike in tourism.
"Our Lancaster Chamber of Commerce runs a village wine walk, we have Lilly Belle Meads that have a renaissance fair, and all of those things. Each time, the alcohol question comes into play of how do we make this work if you can't walk around with an open beverage? And so by limiting or taking out those restrictions, we're allowing our merchants to be even more creative with the types of event and planning that we have."
Put that together with new park set to open near Cayuga Creek and a $4.5 million dollar investment on the way thanks to New York State, it appears that the Lancaster COVID clouds will be fully subsided for the village.