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Published April 04, 2013, 10:13 PM

City Council discusses Grand Forks "drinking problem" concerns

Grand Forks city leaders met tonight to discuss ways to minimize what some call "a drinking problem". Instead of taking action and limiting or increasing the punishment for binge drinking, city leaders talked about promoting activities that don't include alcohol.

Grand Forks city leaders met tonight to discuss ways to minimize what some call "a drinking problem". Instead of taking action and limiting or increasing the punishment for binge drinking, city leaders talked about promoting activities that don't include alcohol.

Hal Gershman proposed an idea aimed towards the under-21 university student. A bus from UND to downtown which would avoid prime bar hours and introduce students to the downtown environment, may have turned a new leaf.

Gershman: "It could allow, literally every weekend, Thursday, Friday, Saturday - hundreds of students who are under 21 to access the downtown where there is entertainment and different things going on."

Councilman Tyrone Grandstrand says an idea like this could get students to realize the value of the city.

Grandstrand: "It's going to get people to want to stay here and so there's a big economic impact on making a city the actual place you would like to be."

The police department is all on board if it eliminates congestion.

Chief Packett: "I think it would be something we would want to look at, a mass transit approach to it."

But there's worry from residents that those who wanted to drink would use the bus as a designated driver. President Gershman's proposal however would avoid the more popular drinking hours.

Hal: "What I'm proposing is to eliminate that 10 to 1 because really that's when they go out."

Those who frequent downtown added there's already a bus and taxis for those who do drink over the legal limit. There also was discussion about harsher punishment for those who use fake ID's but that is something the city can not regulate.

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