Council examines entertainment district hours extension - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Council examines entertainment district hours extension

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Huntsville's entertainment district hours could expand, following a council vote. Huntsville's entertainment district hours could expand, following a council vote.

Huntsville's downtown entertainment district could be in for a major vindication: an expansion of its hours.  

Thursday night, the City Council introduced a proposal to extend the hours during which it will be permissible to carry alcoholic beverages outside of area restaurants and bars, or from one establishment to another.

A proposed amendment  to the city's entertainment district ordinance would change the hours for the district to between 5 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. Thursdays, and between noon and 11 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

When the entertainment district ordinance was approved by the Council in early summer, it came with the understanding that it would be revisited for retooling, fine tuning, and, perhaps, changes to its hours, depending upon how successful the entertainment district turned out to be during its early trial period.

"It was very conservative to begin with. We kept it to a limited number of hours on just two days a week. I think the thinking now is to expand it and offer more opportunity for our citizens to enjoy it," said Council President Mark Russell.

Marie Bostick, manager of the Planning Commission, said a survey of businesses and stakeholders on the impact of the district met with favorable returns.

"Overwhelmingly, all the groups had the opinion it was a very positive impact on downtown. The thing they had the most desire to change was the hours and days," Bostick said.

"We've had bands on the square, street performers; that made it more than just a Bourbon Street-type atmosphere. The city, the Arts Council, nonprofits - we're all going to have to work together to ensure that we still have arts involved in this entertainment district," Russell said.

The proposal will likely be voted on at the council's next meeting, when the commission's finalized findings will be presented.

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