Planning remains for entertainment district

Published 8:49 pm Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Though the Selma City Council approved an entertainment district earlier in June, it hasn’t quite finished planning rules and regulations for the area.

The council approved a proposed an entertainment district June 10, in advance of Jazz on the Grazz. Though, council president Corey Bowie and a planning committee hadn’t finished logistical preparations, including public safety and garbage cleanup.

On Wednesday, the Entertainment District Planning Committee met again to hammer out rules, with intentions of amending the ordinance at a later date.

Email newsletter signup

“If this is going to be successful, we have to cross every t and dot every I,” Bowie said. “The entertainment district is only a piece of the downtown revitalization.”

Fifteen rules were discussed during Wednesday’s planning meeting, including: all patrons must have beverages in an approved logo cup, entertainment district hours of operation on Friday and Saturday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and marking the district with banners and painted signs.

Perhaps the biggest change with the entertainment district approved is the ability to carry alcohol openly. An act, passed during the 2012 Alabama Legislative Session, allows open carry if beverages are first purchased at licensed bars or restaurants. Cups with logos would clearly designate where bar or restaurant patrons purchased alcohol, Bowie said.

Martha Lockett, who is the director of Arts Revive located on Water Avenue, suggested the cups have a Selma Arts and Entertainment District logo on one side and the name of the bar or restaurant on the other. Patrons could carry the cups back into the same establishment, but would be required to throw away cups if entering a different bar or restaurant, Bowie said.

Open carry of liquor would still be illegal outside of the entertainment district’s limits, which runs from Arts Revive to the Old Depot Museum on Water Avenue.

Hours of operation for the entertainment district are currently Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. The committee’s decision to change operating hours would only affect open carry of liquor.

The committee spent a large portion of time debating what the hours of operation would be, but after deciding, Lockett joked that the group made the right decision.

“I think that six to ten sounds better to the mom in me,” she joked.

In marketing and branding the district, Bowie said creating a unique logo for banners and cups is important. Lockett said she would ask artists associated with Arts Revive to draft a few versions of a logo.

“It’s got to be funky and fun,” she said.

Another point of consideration during the meeting was developing specific events to make the entertainment more enticing for large portions of the Selma community.

“We are going to have to dispel the myth that the entertainment district is only about drinking,” Bowie said. “We need to have an array of family and social events.”

Some of the ideas included a family movie night in Phoenix Park and inviting bands to play multiple times a month in the entertainment district.

Bowie presented a strategic plan for the entertainment district Wednesday, which lays out stages before all planning is complete. Stages include: informing clubs and lounges of rules and laws, holding a public hearing and drafting clean-up and safety plans.

Once planning is complete, Bowie said a steering committee would be established to help ensure the success of the entertainment district.

Bowie said all rules and regulations could be in place to allow for operation of the district by mid-July.