TEXARKANA, Texas – City council voted unanimously on Monday to create a downtown entertainment district where open containers of alcohol will be allowed outside.
The measure amends the city’s alcoholic beverages ordinance and will come into effect on June 24, creating a continuous entertainment district on both sides of the state-downtown border. Texarkana, Arkansas, established its neighborhood in 2019. Officials hope the plan will boost activity downtown.
âUltimately, I hope it will lead to more investment downtown, more businesses, more restaurants, bars. And I hope it will allow residents to have fun downtown. city ââand not having to worry about crossing the state border, âsaid Lisa Thompson, city economics manager. development specialist.
The move will provide residents with “a seamless transition from downtown Arkansas to the Texas side, an opportunity to experience downtown restaurants on both sides,” said Acting City Manager David Orr.
People will be allowed to have open, non-glass containers of alcoholic beverages outside the neighborhood, with the exception of Sundays between 2.15am and noon and other days between 2.15am and 7am. All other alcohol laws, including the need for permits to sell alcohol and the ban on open containers in vehicles, will remain in effect.
The neighborhood boundaries encompass more than 12 city blocks. It will include downtown venues such as the Perot Theater, Texarkana Regional Arts Center, Art Park, Kress Gap, Ace of Clubs House, Pecan Point, Silvermoon on Broad and Farmers’ Market. The bi-state justice building is excluded.
Purchase of airport land
Council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the Texarkana Airport Authority to purchase 38 acres of land adjacent to the Texarkana Regional Airport property. Texarkana Arkansas’ board of directors must give its approval at a meeting next week before the purchase can be made.
Added to the land the airport already owns, the purchase will result in a 120-acre block of land available for development, airport executive director Paul Mehrlich told Council.
âWe intend to partner with the REDI group and use it to attract air cargo to the airport,â he said, referring to the regional economic development organization AR-TX REDI.
Sidewalk grant applications
The Council approved the submission of grant applications from the Texas Department of Transportation to fund improvements to pedestrian and cycling infrastructure.
The city will ask for $ 1.8 million to build sidewalks along Kennedy Lane and $ 800,000 for sidewalks along Leopard Lane from two different TxDOT funding programs, Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside, or TASA, and Safe Routes to School-Infrastructure, or SRTS.
SRTS grants do not require matching funds, but TASA grants require a 20% match, which the city would pay with a combination of in-kind labor and cash. Federal transportation development appropriations could cover twinning expenses.
Council also held hearings and voted to approve a number of zoning and permit change applications.
A vacant lot north of 100 Gazola Street will be rezoned to allow the construction of multi-family dwellings. The owner of the land plans to donate it to Mt. Sinai House of Prayer Church, which has proposed several multi-family construction projects in the immediate vicinity.
A lot at 302 Daniels Street will be rezoned to allow for a double-width prefabricated house. Council also approved a special use permit for the site. Another approved application will change the zoning of 605 Ward Ave. to allow a double width.
Council also approved a site plan for the construction of a Panda Express restaurant at 3100 St. Michael Drive.
Block grants for community development
Council heard initial presentations on three measures related to federal block grants for community development. Public hearings and votes will follow at the next scheduled Council meeting on July 12.
One of them would change the city’s budget to reflect more than $ 293,000 in CDBG funding received as a result of the CARES law for COVID relief. The second would reallocate $ 163,000 from an inactive loan fund to another fund from which the loans guaranteed by CDBG are repaid. The third would approve the city’s 2021 action plan for CDBG funds.
Christie Page, Ward 4 council member, was absent from the meeting. In accordance with the city charter, Mayor Bob Bruggeman participated in the vote.