Traverse City DDA Gets Update on Drinking Culture Study

Bar Alcohol Spirits TcTraverse City’s drinking culture is under the microscope – on the agenda with the Downtown Development Authority. Friday morning the DDA board got an update from the group leading the study for Traverse City’s “Healthier Drinking Culture.”

Megan Motil is with Parallel Solutions and is in charge of Community Engagement for the project. She says one goal of the study is that “there would be accountability for businesses and individuals.” The goal is a Healthier Drinking Culture in Traverse City. Concerns have been voiced for years in public forums – and by public officials – about the number of liquor licenses in the city, problems with alcohol abuse, trash, vandalism, violence, and drunken behavior.

Mayor Jim Carruthers is one of those concerned. “It’s just become a real challenge for locals,” adding that “it’s just such a drunken mess.”Bar Drinking Alcohol

The study launched in April of 2020 aims to address those concerns – and they’re getting professional input.  Project Manager Elise Crafts with Statecraft says, “All of the clinical providers that we talked with, the folks that work in recovery treatment, the folks that work in addiction and mental health prevention and treatment, all requested that we look at some of the impacts in the community.”

Crafts says they want to determine “what are the immediate, what are the short-term, and what are the long-term initiatives that we either can individually take or collectively can take to implement a healthier drinking culture in Traverse City.”

Best Beer BarsA community survey this spring started to bring in some ideas. Motil says, that includes “normalizing a wide range of beverages at social gatherings and celebrations. Expanding non-alcoholic drinking options.” She says public safety is also a priority. “There was also a desire to have an increased police presence as a deterrent downtown. Including at places identified as hot spots, and during events and festivals. And use of video cameras.” And she adds, “There were also really specific ideas related to putting lights in really dark places, in alleys.”

In addressing the board, Motil says, “This will be food for thought for you as a DDA entity, for the city commission, and for the police department to consider.” Bar Tc Drinking Culture

There have already been more than 1,100 responses to the spring survey on the Drinking Culture, plus community meetings and one-on-one interviews. But the opportunity for input is not over yet. Crafts says, “Moving forward we’d like to facilitate eight conversations with the stakeholders that have raised their hand during the engagement process to say I’m really interested in implementing on this.”

Those eight community conversations will start in August, according to Crafts.

For more on the Healthier Drinking Culture study, Click Here.