City council to vote on downtown entertainment district

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TEXARKANA, Texas – In a regular meeting Monday, city council will hold a public hearing and vote on creating an entertainment district in the downtown area where outdoor alcohol consumption would be permitted.

The idea is to mirror a similar neighborhood created in 2019 in Texarkana, Arkansas, with the aim of promoting development and attracting visitors to the downtown area.

If the ordinance creating the neighborhood passes, people will be allowed to have open, non-glass containers of alcoholic beverages outside, with the exception of Sundays between 2.15am and noon and other days between 2.15am and 7am.

The district would largely coincide with the downtown arts and historic district and would include the Perot Theater, Texarkana Regional Arts Center, Art Park, Kress Gap, Ace of Clubs House, Pecan Point and Silvermoon on Broad , but not the bi-state justice building.

The ordinance prohibits the use of glass containers for any liquid on public streets, sidewalks or alleys, and it does not conflict with already existing ordinances relating to noise. State alcohol law, including the need for permits to sell alcohol and the ban on open containers in vehicles, would remain in effect.

If the ordinance is approved, city staff will assess the need for additional garbage cans and garbage collection.

Rezoning, permits

Council will also hold hearings and vote on a number of rezoning and permit applications:

n Rezoning of a vacant lot north of 100 Gazola Street 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.

n Rezoning and granting of a special use permit to allow a double-width prefabricated house at 302 Daniels Street.

n Approval of a site plan for the construction of a Panda Express restaurant at 3100 St. Michael Drive.

n Rezoning of 605 Ward Ave. and granting of a special use permit to allow a double-width prefabricated house at this location.

A further pair of hearings and votes relate to requests for grants from the Texas Department of Transportation to fund improvements to pedestrian and cycling infrastructure.

If Council approves the requests, the city will ask for $ 1.8 million to build sidewalks along Kennedy Lane and $ 800,000 for sidewalks along Leopard Lane.

The city would apply to two different TxDOT funding programs, Reserved Transportation Alternatives, 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 will first hear 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.

The agenda includes an open forum where residents can address Council on any topic for up to five minutes each.

The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday at City Hall, 220 Texas Blvd. A live video feed will be available on the city’s website, ci.texarkana.tx.us.



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