Raleigh is a thriving city and signs of our success are everywhere. We have a strong entrepreneurial community, a beautiful greenway system and are attracting more visitors than ever. Perhaps the most telling indicator of Raleigh's prosperity is the revitalization of downtown. People want to live downtown, they want to work downtown and they want to play downtown.
Of course, all those people enjoying our profusion of new entertainment options can pose some challenges as well.
The number of people on the sidewalks and outdoor areas of bars and restaurants has led some to complain about the noise in our entertainment districts. I understand that feeling and am sympathetic to it. We absolutely cannot allow our downtown to be overtaken by any single use. At the same time, Raleigh is not the sleepy little town it was decades ago. There is more to do in Raleigh than ever before for residents and visitors alike and places like downtown and Glenwood South are a big part of that.
The restaurants, bars and music venues that have been such an important part of breathing life into our city did not pop up by accident. Behind every establishment is a business owner who took a chance on a reemerging downtown. Our city is a more vibrant place because of the risk they took.
Over my objections, the city council passed last week new restrictions on the hours that people are allowed to be outside of bars and restaurants. These ordinances essentially punish these businesses and their employees for their success. I voted against these new rules because I don't think we should stifle the sense of entrepreneurship that got our city where we are, and I think there are better ways to manage this.
Part of being a growing city is adapting to the ways people use our city, so we are trying to find ways of balancing the desire to have attractive entertainment districts while still encouraging people to live in the dense and walkable urban areas that are hallmarks of successful cities. I will keep working to find the best ways to strike that balance. I can't guarantee everyone will always agree with me, but I can guarantee I have Raleigh's best interest in mind every time I vote.