According to Texarkana, AR City Manager
Kenny Haskin "City staff has been working on an entertainment district concept and plans to make a presentation to its Planning Commission next week. Once completed, plans and the necessary City ordinance will include reasonable standards for regulation of alcoholic beverages within the district and safeguards for its citizens," he said in an email.
The MegaChess 37" Plastic Chess Set at the Central Mall Texarkana.
The idea is to create an entertainment district downtown, Haskin said, citing the Fort Worth, Texas, Stockyards as a model. With the appropriate city ordinances in place, a visitor could buy a beer "to go" at a downtown bar and walk with it to Front Street Festival Plaza to watch a parade, for example.
"Nationwide, entertainment districts have been found to rejuvenate cities, spur economic growth, generate tax revenues, and bolster cities' live-work-play images to potential businesses and residents. Proponents have said the districts become central gathering places, give their cities a heartbeat, become major drivers of economic development, and provide much needed jobs," Haskin said.
Haskin said potential benefits include more entertainment in outdoor venues; the ability to move freely between restaurants and taverns, bringing more visitors downtown; increased participation for events at downtown attractions such as the Municipal Auditorium; decreased "red tape" such as separate, special permits for each event; and "development of increased neutral outdoor spaces for community activities where citizens could enjoy a beverage while playing outdoor chess, checkers, etc., or participating in other social activities."
Read more about Kenny Haskin's plan and the State of Arkansas' thinking behind enacting this new law at The Texarkana Gazette.