CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Plaza Midwood neighborhood leaders aim to be accurate and not necessarily “fast as possible” when it comes to the launch of the city’s first social district.

At a meeting Wednesday night, the Plaza Midwood Merchants Association stressed to roughly 50 business owners and community members that they want to set the tone for what a social district can be in Charlotte, and across the state.

One of the leaders addressed trash concerns. 

“How this rolls out might shape the way other social districts operate across the state,” he said. 

The social district has been a long time coming, with it passing from city leaders last month. It will allow customers to carry alcoholic business to business in the district running along Central Avenue and areas around Pecan Street and Thomas Avenue.

On Wednesday, Queen City News saw an example of the stainless-steel cups that will be used by district patrons. 

PMMA member Russell Ferguson explained that details are being worked out, but the cups will be manufactured by Innovation Barn in Charlotte, who could also help recycle the cups if needed.

These cups drove much of the conversation, with business owners hung up on how the cups will be purchased and policed while in the social district.

In the current phase of the social district plans, businesses will pay a $100 fee to be part of it. They will then be able to purchase the cups, which they will then sell to their customers to recoup the costs.

Customers can then use them at other participating locations and may return them for a portion of their money back. They can also keep them and reuse them on their next trip.

It will also be up to each business to police the use of these cups, and educate people who abuse the social district and walk freely with alcohol that is not in a designated cup.

The details on how this will be handled will be discussed in training seminars required for business owners and employees of those participating stores.

“It’s important that we get this right,” Ferguson stressed. “There will be requirements for you to attend training for these social districts.”

While a grand opening date is said to happen in early 2024, there are talks to host a soft opening to evaluate what has worked and what has not.

A date for this has also not been set.