Downtown Marquette to contain social district, allow businesses to opt-in

The district will contain all of Third Street and a portion of Baraga Avenue and Washington, Main and Spring streets.
Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 4:14 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - This summer going out for a drink in downtown Marquette will look a little different.

Digs is just one of many businesses looking to opt into a newly passed social district. Co-owner Pat Digneit says a social district is just what the Marquette community needs.

“Coming out of a pandemic, especially in the restaurant industry we were definitely all hit hard. As Marquette, our community is very strong and came out and supported everybody, but I think it is just a nice little thing that will add a little extra and every little bit counts, and I think it will be fun,” Digneit said.

The district will contain all of Third Street and a portion of Baraga Avenue and Washington, Main, and Spring streets. Businesses in that zone can choose to opt in or remain excluded.

Marquette DDA Executive Director Tara Laase-McKinney says it will allow licensed businesses the ability to sell alcohol to customers who can then enjoy those drinks outside in a common area.

“It is just going to give people another option while they are downtown, whether it be while they are waiting for a table to open for dinner at one of our wonderful restaurants downtown, or just another opportunity to just enjoy themselves in the downtown,” Laase-McKinney said.

Laase-McKinney says now that the district has been approved, the downtown development authority is working to ensure people will remain responsible.

“We are working very closely with the police department to make sure that is not an issue, and we will be checking in to make sure that there aren’t any upticks in any nuisance-type issues,” Laase-McKinney said. “Additionally, we will have a lot of signage reminding people where the boundaries are for the social district, as well as additional trash cans and trash pickup as well.”

Laase-McKinney says the DDA is waiting for approval from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission which she expects will take a few weeks. After that, the DDA will hold an informational session about the new social district.