The Texarkana, Arkansas City Council heard the first of three readings of an ordinance proposing an “Entertainment District” located downtown.
Recently, the Arkansas State Legislature approved bill 492: “To promote hospitality and tourism; To establish areas of a city or town that highlight restaurant, entertainment, and hospitality options; To establish temporary or permanent designated entertainment districts.”
Exploring new options for growth offered by the State, the planning commission proposed an ordinance “to provide opportunities for increased activities.”
Conducting four workshops and a public hearing, the planning commission solicited and considered input from the Texarkana Police Department, the Historic District Commission, Main Street Texarkana, many of the 85 downtown small business owners, and the public at large.
The resulting ordinance would ,if passed, allow for a fourteen block area of downtown to be designated as an “Entertainment District.” Where in, an adult may consume adult beverages out-of-doors that are purchased at local establishments, excluding liquor stores. The ordinance would also allow for road closures that coincide with cultural events like street dances, musical acts, and art exhibits.
The “Entertainment District” was the last piece of business addressed at the council meeting on August 5. City planner, Mary Beck brought forth the proposal. General questions were answered with the information available.
Terri Peavy of Ward 6 is concerned that folks could be oversold alcohol, and wondered, “who will be responsible.” Assistant Mayor, Linda Teeters of Ward 1 offered that bar-hopping is not an uncommon practice and steps are already in place to curtail citizens being oversold.
When pressed on approving the ordinance Barbara Miner of Ward 5 raised her hands and said, “I am not ready.” To help assuage some concerns, the council opted for an additional workshop to iron out the details.
A second reading of the ordinance was tabled until the next meeting, August 19th.