Friday, June 27, 2014

"Downtown Dilemma: Distilled"

Location, location, location: the city of Fairbanks granted a new distillery license to set up shop right in the middle of downtown Fairbanks. The Borough Assembly also approved changing the zoning laws to accommodate the new facility, and on the state level, legislation was passed to expand Alaska craft distillery liquor licenses. Great idea for a local business, but unfortunately the number one issue that pervades the downtown community is that of public chronic inebriation, and all of its attendant woes. This fact is beyond dispute, and is readily and easily apparent to anyone who takes a cursory walk anytime, anywhere downtown. Symbolism says a lot, and to honestly say we are attempting to address this issue while simultaneously complicating it by, of all things, building a distillery - sends more than a mixed message, it makes a joke - or at least a cartoon - out of any rehabilitative efforts taken to date towards those ends.
Hand-in-glove with any clean-up campaigns to attract and enhance the core downtown area for residents and visitors alike is a requisite effort at getting help to the folks who suffer from addiction.
Community Service Patrols do a lot, and there is no small irony behind the same city officials who gave the thumbs-up to the distillery also recently gave the CSP over a $300k budget. Last year the CSP took 1,695 inebriates into protective custody, which presumably clears the way for other folks to come downtown do some shots taste spirits. Granted, the overlap in clientele between the distillery and chronic inebriates is virtually nil, but that glaring contrast is precisely why the location is if not objectionable on its face, then at least as, again, a symbolic failure.


  1. Didn't you drive through New Hampshire on Interstate 93 or 95 while you were in Maine? We have state rest areas with liquor stores. No drive-thru, but still...

    At least enforcement isn't lax. You really AREN'T supposed to start enjoying your purchase in the parking lot. It's just a weird juxtaposition.

  2. At least in Maine the view was intoxicating!