Houghton creates "LoHo" social district

What's happening: Houghton is the latest Michigan community to open its own social district. Working with local businesses like the Keweenaw Brewing Company, The Ambassador and The Den, the city is calling its social district “LoHo” — short for Lower Houghton. The district covers portions of downtown and parks near the canal. Houghton officials say the district will help spark the economy in a new way.

What is a social district: A social district is an area where qualifying businesses can sell alcohol to customers, who then can consume the beverages outdoors. The extra flexibility allows individuals the ability to enjoy a drink while shopping, viewing sites or taking a signature drink from one dining location, grabbing food from another and then enjoying the combined meal in a park. Houghton spent almost a year getting all of the necessary documentation in place and joins other Upper Peninsula cities like Marquette and Manistique in having a social district.

What they're saying: “We have had a lot of positive responses from the community and from tourists about the social district. The city thinks that this will be a great addition to our downtown area especially as we come into summer. Statistics throughout Michigan show that social districts increase the time that people spend downtown which in turn is great for business,” said Amy Zawada, director of Community and Business Development for the city of Houghton.

What's next: While the consumption area of the social district is limited to a smaller area, the entirety of the social district reaches to other businesses that could benefit from the experience. The city hopes other businesses will join and grow the district.
Additional signage and postings to help navigate the district will be going up over the next couple of weeks. 
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