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Downtown drinking proposal in Deadwood meets with opposition

DEADWOOD (AP) -- The owner of a saloon on Deadwood's Main Street wants patrons to be able to roam downtown with drinks in hand year-round rather than just during special events, but the idea doesn't sit well with some.

DEADWOOD (AP) - The owner of a saloon on Deadwood's Main Street wants patrons to be able to roam downtown with drinks in hand year-round rather than just during special events, but the idea doesn't sit well with some.

Gunslingers Saloon owner Lacey Kirwan believes a relaxed alcohol ordinance would attract more tourists to the Old West gambling town and boost business.

"Families would think it was so cool to be able to wander around with a beer while they shop and game and enjoy Deadwood," she said.

Opponents believe the proposal would increase public drunkenness and strain police resources.

"You start having open container all the time and it opens up a plethora of issues for us," Police Chief Kelly Fuller said.

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The City Commission rejected the proposal Tuesday, the Rapid City Journal reported ( http://bit.ly/20WXed9  ). However, Kirwan said she won't give up and will push the commission to reconsider, and Deadwood Chamber Executive Director Lee Harstad also doesn't believe the issue has been put to rest.

A survey of chamber members last fall showed 58 percent favored allowing open containers from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

"There's certainly a divide in the community as to expanding open container, but I don't think this was the last push for an extended period of open container in Deadwood," he said.

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