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FAYETTEVILLE -- A proposal to establish an entertainment district in downtown Fayetteville has been delayed indefinitely.

The proposal would allow people attending events downtown to walk around holding alcoholic beverages. Organizers of the events would have to request administrative approval to allow such outdoor drinking.

Devin Howland, economic vitality director, said at a City Council meeting earlier this week that he wanted to provide a revised proposal within a few months after holding discussions and public meetings with business owners and residents. He asked that he be able to do that without having to face a hard deadline.

The City Council took up the first reading of the district's proposal on Aug. 20.

Several cities across Arkansas are either considering, planning or establishing entertainment districts in their downtowns.

Little Rock, Mountain Home and Texarkana, among others, began their entertainment districts during the summer.

North Little Rock has considered one. But, like Fayetteville, North Little Rock has decided to proceed slowly.

North Little Rock Mayor Joe Smith met over the summer with other city officials and members of the city's Chamber of Commerce and the Argenta Downtown Council to discuss ideas about establishing a North Little Rock entertainment district.

"I'm not quite sold on it yet," Smith said after those meetings. "I certainly want to see what others have done. So I'm going to slow-play this decision for a while."

Act 812 of 2019, sponsored by Sen. Trent Garner, R-El Dorado, allows municipalities to authorize creation of entertainment districts within commercially zoned areas that highlight restaurant, entertainment and hospitality options on a permanent or temporary basis.

Information for this article was contributed by Dale Ellis of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and Jake Sandlin for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

State Desk on 10/18/2019

Print Headline: City entertainment district idea on hold

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