By Mike Kruzman /

As spring approaches and planning for potential downtown festivals ramps up, the City of Brighton is ready to again look at the idea of creating a social district.

Last summer, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, in an executive order, allowed for the creation of social districts that would allow for open carrying and consumption of alcohol in communities that wish to do so in designated common areas.

The City of Brighton created a committee to put together a potential plan for the downtown district, but tabled it for the winter. At last week’s City Council study session, they debated bringing back for discussion.

Council member Jon Emaus said the taskforce, which included council members, the police chief, stakeholders, and members of the public, put in a lot of work and felt it would be a shame to throw it away or start over.

Management Assistant Henry Outlaw provided examples of the different approaches they could take by showing how two communities that have established social districts have done so differently, starting with Marshall. Marshall has an open-styled approach with signs along the border stating the rules and hours. It’s dependent on businesses to self-police, and public education is thought to be key. Tecumseh, meanwhile, takes a special-event styled approach where businesses in the district apply for usage of its areas through a permit. There, business education is key and it is dependent on the city to ensure compliance, much like code enforcement.

These were just two examples, and should the city choose to establish a district, could model it however they find appropriate.

Opinions were varied for the full-time model, like the one being used in Marshall. However, several council members were in favor of at least looking at the idea of establishing a social district for special event use. With multiple downtown festivals that run in the summer the majority were open to further debating what the district would potentially look like for those events. Also to be discussed could the possibility for charities to take advantage of the district, as there seems to be interest in the return of a pub crawl to benefit local veterans.

Outlaw thanked Council for the feedback and said he would start preparing something to bring back.

(Pictured: proposed social district map from 2020)