Entertainment district proposal brought before Harrison, Ark. city council

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Harrison, Arkansas (KY3) – The Harrison City Council is presenting a recreational district proposal at a meeting on Thursday.

The Council originally introduced the idea in 2020. The Council rejected the proposal by a margin of one vote. Many are showing support for revisiting this idea with the removal of city hall from downtown later this year and similar significant steps from courthouses.

“As one of the businesses here, I’m afraid of what they’re going to do with the traffic here,” Maggie Larocque told KY3. Larock says the small-town charm was her family’s focus when it moved to the area.

Heath Kirkpatrick, local pastor of Woodland Heights Baptist Church, said: “My concern as a local pastor is that I always say alcohol is not a sin per se, but it is always excessive indulgence or intoxication.”

Locals and downtown business owners want to see something that brings traffic to the area. The city will soon begin construction on the Creekside Community Center near downtown.

Recreational district ideas can be found in neighboring communities such as Mountain Home and Springdale. Matt Bell of Explore Harrison said the data from the Mountain Home district will be useful for plans being built by the Harrison City Tourism Commission.

“The red light district proposal is to designate walking areas within downtown that foster a social atmosphere,” Bell said. “Visitors can go to restaurants, get adult beverages, and walk freely within the district.”

According to Explore Harrison, the proposal outlines specific rules such as what types of alcohol are allowed, what containers are required and where alcohol can be consumed.

“I think the idea of ​​facilitating people in and out of stores is a little more concerned about public safety and other issues that police have to deal with,” Kirkpatrick said. .

Bell said the idea has been successful elsewhere, with participating companies supporting the red light district. He told KY3 on Thursday that up to three companies with the potential to sell alcohol are participating in the proposal and intend to open stores around Harrison Square.

“Mountain Home just finished a big event in the red light district. We had no issues when it came to crime, drinking, disorderly behaviour,” Bell said. It was a great event and very family-friendly, and that’s what we bring to the entertainment district.”

But questions remain.

“When you open a container, it draws people downtown. That’s the problem I’m concerned about. “We all want downtown to revitalize, especially with our recent departure, but there are other options for visiting.”

Observations show that most businesses in the downtown area are in favor of the proposal, and expect it to increase traffic in the area.

“Apart from entertainment districts, we need to explore options that bring jobs and economic growth to downtown,” said Robert Young, business owner of the downtown area. I feel a desire to continue.

The entertainment district proposal is set to have its first reading at the city council on Thursday. If approved, it cannot be officially adopted until two months from now.

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