City council approves entertainment district ordinance

Published 5:27 pm Monday, January 8, 2024

The Atmore City Council approved an ordinance to create an entertainment district downtown during its regular meeting Jan. 8.

The ordinance, 04-2023, was first read during the council’s Dec. 11, 2023 meeting. During the meeting, City Attorney Larry Wettermark said he had worked with members of the community who expressed a desire to have a downtown entertainment district, according to Advance archives.

Wettermark said a state law was amended not long ago to provide a relaxing of liquor laws through the Alabama Beverage Control Board. He added that the idea wasn’t to have a free reign of liquor on the streets, but to have a unified district or a number of licenses to allow them together and have events.

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“The ordinance has constraints,” he said. “First of all, you draw a district. The map will be available to the public before the city makes a decision in the next meeting. Any entity who has a liquor license will be allowed to have patrons leave the business, but have to provide a cup with their name on it (the cup). The intent was to allow as a unified district to get people to get together. The ordinance controls the size of the container. It will be involved, and there will be a little bit of enforcement of the police department. In the end, it also requires an amendment of or city ordinance about drinking in public.”

Wettermark said the ordinance will include public spaces, such as Boxcar Willie and others.

The district map includes businesses Gather, Strand Theatre, Encore, The Coffee House LLC, The Publican, Grizzly Pizza & Wings, Atmore Florist, Hawt Mess Boutique and Cotton + Co., to name a few. The district is outlined in black.

District 4 Council Member Shawn Lassiter abstained from the vote as his wife, Hope, owns The Publican.

In other business, the council:

  • approved Cedo Coon’s request to hold a revival at Boxcar Willie May 6-11;
  • approved the Love in the Park event to be held April 20 at Houston Avery Park;
  • tabled an Escambia County 4-H regional archery contest request; and,
  • approved Fox 10 News’ marketing project. Cost of the project is $25,000. The project’s purpose is to promote city growth by increasing revenue through tourism. The proposal includes a two-hour studio produced show that shines a spotlight on the city, Dials said. The show will include business features and segments, and live interviews and chats.