Proposed ordinance for entertainment district has mixed reactions

Proposed ordinance for entertainment district has some unhappy

PARAGOULD, Ark. (KAIT) - Paragould citizens are buzzing over a proposed ordinance that would allow for an entertainment district to be downtown.

Act 812 passed by the Arkansas General Assembly allows for the creation of entertainment districts in wet counties. Paragould is now considering adding an entertainment district to their town.

The entertainment district would allow alcoholic beverages anywhere within the district’s boundaries.

The proposed district would mainly be on Pruitt Street, which has several restaurants and bars. It would also branch out onto South Second Street to near the railroad tracks.

Councilman Jeremy Biggs says it will benefit all businesses.

“What this will allow people to do is have more ease going between restaurants and a boutique or a salon that’s downtown,” Biggs said.

However, there are limitations and rules that would be in place, if this ordinance passes:

  • An alcoholic beverage that’s no more than 16 ounces
  • The drink must be in a branded, disposable cup
  • An armband is required
  • Only available Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays 11:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m.

Biggs said he reached out to other towns that have entertainment districts. They told him they are seeing positive results.

“There’s not been one incident of any public intoxication,” Biggs said. “There’s not been one arrest. Their police staffs have not staffed any more officers. They have no plans to staff more police officers. Right now in the state of Arkansas since this has been in effect, there has been no ill effects. It’s only been positives in economic development.”

A local restaurant owner in the proposed entertainment district said his customers are not for the ordinance.

The proposed ordinance will be discussed again on Nov. 11 at 5:30 p.m. during a committee meeting.

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