First Night in new location, CMPD crackdown on DWIs - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

First Night in new location, CMPD crackdown on DWIs

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First Night will be held in Romare Bearden Park and that's not the only change this year.

The New Year's Eve celebration will also be free this year, no more wristbands to buy.

Organizers with Center City Partners say the new location wasn't nailed down until a few weeks before Thanksgiving.

Robert Krumbine, Chief Creative Officer of Center City Partners, says the park is an ideal location. It allows First Night to be more self-contained and they don't have to shut down streets to accommodate the crowd. It saves time and money.

First Night is an alcohol free, family-friendly event. It's sponsored, in part, by WBTV and will be broadcast live on WBTV starting at 10:00 pm.

Management at nearby bars and restaurants said they were not aware of the location change until a couple weeks ago.

George Photopoulos, owner of The French Quarter, says they will be closed because it was impossible to staff the restaurant on short notice.

He says there are no hard feelings, adding that the transformation of the area around the park has helped grow business all year long.

One thing that won't change: the heavy police presence. CMPD says there will be plenty of officers on foot and in cars all over Center City, but especially around the Park.

They will also be focused on drunk drivers. Sgt. Jesse Woods, who heads up the new DWI task force says they will have zero tolerance Tuesday night.

"Make those arrangements now then you won't have worry to about it when its took late or once you encounter one of our officers," he said.

There will be no warnings, Sgt. Woods added. "You will be arrested, charged and you will be taken to jail."

Romare Bearden Park sits across from the new BB&T ballpark for the Charlotte Knights. It's also down the street from Bank of America Stadium.

For more information on First Night, click here.

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