The Mobile City Council will vote Tuesday, May 7 on a proposed expansion of the eastern-most entertainment district in downtown, Council Vice President Levon Manzie confirmed.
Manzie, whose District 2 covers downtown, said he’s “all for” the planned expansion, which would encompass both the city’s waterfront and the burgeoning St. Louis Street corridor.
“It is continued evidence of the vibrancy of our downtown area,” he said. “I want the investment to continue to flourish and this is something our business owners are asking for.”
The Downtown Mobile Alliance has pushed the effort to expand the entertainment districts, which put in place special, more relaxed rules for bars and restaurants along some of downtown’s most popular corridors.
“The expansion of what we call LoDa east takes in St. Louis Street, which includes The Cheese Cottage, the future home of Braided River Brewing and the new Greer’s,” Downtwon Mobile Alliance spokeswoman Carol Hunter said. “A waterfront district is an opportunity to activate the waterfront. There’s a good branding opportunity there to create a waterfront, or riverside.”
The alliance also supports further expansion of the western-most district, where Dauphin Street and Springhill Avenue intersect, Hunter said.
“We think the creation of three districts would be an overall good,” she said. “Just because a business is in the entertainment district doesn’t mean it’s exempt from the noise ordinance.
“It’s a good time to have those conversations,” Hunter added. “Residents have put establishments on notice. The entertainment district is not a license to be loud and disruptive.”
Specifically, Hunter said the alliance is looking to possibly ask that the district be expanded to the former Red Cross Building at Dauphin and Broad streets because it will include dining options. The alliance proposal would exclude the area encompassing Baptist Oaks, she said.
“It’s a great way to bring more activity to the street,” Hunter said. “It allows visitors to leave an establishment with an alcoholic beverage in a specialized cup. It doesn’t allow you to misbehave.”
The relaxed enforcement in an entertainment district is only valid from noon to midnight.
While the districts have been amended three times already, Manzie said the upcoming vote would be the last one for a while.
“I think we need to do what we’re doing here and see how it goes,” he said.
As for the current expansion plans and opposition from residents, especially in the DeTonti Square area, Manzie said the neighborhood has been removed from the planned expansion.
“It doesn’t encroach on any residents,” Manzie said of the plans. “We excluded DeTonti. We’ve extracted all that out.”
Mayor Sandy Stimpson’s administration pushed to add the waterfront to the newest expansion. City spokesman George Talbot said the city wants to either expand the eastern-most entertainment district to include the waterfront, or create a third district. He added that Mayor Sandy Stimpson’s office approved of Manzie’s plan for the eastern-most district.
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