Enterprise council OKs downtown entertainment district

Robert Schmidhauer, owner of Forge and Farm Brewing Company in Enterprise, tells Enterprise City Councilmen the importance of a downtown entertainment district during the council meeting July 20. 

“A great thing for businesses that are already established downtown and a recruiting incentive for new businesses to locate there.”

That was how Enterprise Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Erin Grantham described an Enterprise City Council vote July 20 to establish an entertainment district in the city’s downtown area.

Grantham and Forge and Farm Brewing Company owner Robert Schmidhauer both addressed the council in favor of designating a one-half mile by one-half mile downtown as an entertainment district.

The entertainment district will be in effect between the hours of 11 a.m. until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays and from 5 until 11 p.m. on other days of the week. The district will not be in effect on Sundays.

Schmidhauer told the council that some neighboring communities have already approved entertainment districts. “Ozark’s downtown has been revitalized. They have four or five businesses now that have outdoor seating,” Schmidhauer said. “If you go there any night of the week, to include Sunday, you will see crowds of 50 to 100 people sitting outside enjoying the evening. It’s increased revenue tremendously for Ozark and it’s increased revenue tremendously for the businesses.”

“I just want to make sure that everybody understands that this is an effort to help our current businesses and to also help recruit businesses as well as lifting up the tax revenue,” Grantham said.

An entertainment district designation allows customers to take an open container of alcohol outside of an establishment, as long as the customer stays within the limits of the district. The ordinance prohibits a consumer from entering a licensed premises with an open or closed container of alcoholic beverages acquired elsewhere.

Additionally, to leave a licensed premise within the entertainment district with an alcoholic beverage, the beverage is required to be in a shatterproof container.

The ordinance goes into effect with the legal publication of the ordnance in the newspaper.

In unrelated business, the council decided to table a vote on a beekeeping ordinance governing the farming of honey bees within city limits pending further research on the matter. Assistant Director of Engineering Services Staci Hayes said that of the six municipalities in the state of Alabama with beekeeping ordinances, only four allow bees in residential areas within city limits. Hayes said that some of the ordinances define the distance beekeeping can be from neighboring residences and schools

In Alabama the Agriculture Department issues the beekeeping licenses and does annual inspections.

In other business, during the part of the meeting that citizens may address the council for a maximum of three minutes, Ken Thomas talked about council discussion at a previous meeting in reference to the recent Juneteenth Federal Holiday. Because the day was declared a federal holiday just one day before the actual holiday, Enterprise City employees did not have the day off this year. How to make up that day for city employees was discussed at the meeting two weeks ago. After council discussion it was decided that for this year, city employees could take a personal day—in lieu of the missed federal holiday—before Dec. 31.

“I was taken aback a bit when the comment was made (by a city councilman) that as we add several holidays, we should take a holiday away,” Thomas said. “I don’t think that is a road that we as a city should go down.

“Our employees work really hard to make this a beautiful city, the City of Progress,” Thomas added. “I just remind you that happy employees are productive employees. Please do not go down that road that as the federal government adds holidays that you take holidays from your city employees.”

The next meeting of the Enterprise City Council is Tuesday, Aug. 3, in the council chamber at Enterprise City Hall. A work session begins at 5 p.m. A voting meeting is at 6 p.m. Both meetings are open to the public.

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