The Future of Texarkana’s Entertainment District


A workshop to discuss the proposed downtown Entertainment District was held Tuesday at the Texarkana, Arkansas City Hall.

The purpose of the meeting was to address concerns raised by some board members who lacked information on the proposed ordinance discussed by the City Council, August 19th.

The round table discussion was lead-off by Director Peavy, Ward 6, who thanked the planning commission for all their hard work, and hoped today would be a chance to gain community support by asking and answering questions.

Peavey pointed out that many of the folks she has spoken with are concerned about what could happen. Specifically: who is going to address trash pickup; how will the education process occur for downtown restaurants, bars, businesses, and community members; what would be the best type of container for adult beverages leaving establishments; and should the existing liquor store remain within the boundary of the Entertainment District.

Public Works agreed to handle the trash pickup by providing and monitoring receptacles. Local media sources and word of mouth will inform all concerned about the Entertainment District. Red Solo cups will be made available by businesses for exiting adult beverages. The liquor store will remain in the district as the existing Arkansas Alcohol Beverage Control laws will contribute to order and accountability.

An additional workshop, date to be announced, will amend the existing ordinance by adding specific guidelines addressing trash pickup, approved containers, district hours, and a yearly review.

This issue has been tabled until the September 10th meeting of the Texarkana, Arkansas City Council.

Some board members struggled to see what the additional red-tape will ultimately accomplish. Most agreed that issues should be addressed as they come up.

“Leave it like it is,” siad Ward 2’s Laney Harris, adding that the existing state laws offer enough regulation.

Bertha Dunn, of the Texarkana Arkansas Planning Commision, stated that the point of the Entertainment District is to support local businesses and, “The younger generation wants this.”

George Dodson, co-owner of Hopkin’s IceHouse, looks forward to an approved Entertainment District, “What the district will help with is allowing big groups of friends or bridal parties or office parties to enjoy more downtown places with more freedom.”

The intended overall purpose for this Entertainment District is to bolster tourism for downtown Texarkana. As Adger Smith of the Planning Commision pointed out, “This is the culmination of years of gradual work by the Planning Commision, it’s an evolution.” Adding, “Naysayers forget, it’s an Entertainment District, not a public drunken district.”

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