Springdale is the latest Arkansas city to establish an entertainment district.
On Monday, Aug. 11, the Springdale City Council approved an ordinance creating the entertainment district, called the Downtown Outdoor Dining District. which will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The boundaries of the district will extend from E. Johnson Ave. on the north to Grove Ave. on the south and from S. Water Street on the east and Pursell St. on the west.
Under the new ordinance, individuals are allowed to publically consume alcoholic beverages within the bounds of the district but cannot bring alcohol into the district. Alcohol can only be purchased from participating businesses within the district. Drinks must also be in designated Downtown Outdoor Dining District cups.
Individuals are allowed to bring alcoholic beverages into another business if the establishment has a designated window decal and is not also selling alcoholic beverages.
According to the City of Springdale’s website, local landmarks inside the Downtown Outdoor Dining District may be excluded from the district occasionally. Luther George Park and Shiloh Square may be excluded for “private events or youth focused events.”
“This vote represents momentum for all that we are striving to accomplish for downtown,” Downtown Springdale executive director Jill Dabbs said in a statement. “The Outdoor Dining District will be a catalyst to increase the number of lunches eaten in downtown. It will be a hook for recruiting and attracting new restaurants and businesses to downtown for a more robust dinner scene. It will help art activations to be more successful. It will help people discover what an amazing destination downtown Springdale is and becoming for the future.”
Springdale is not the only city in Northwest Arkansas with an entertainment district. In early June, the Fayetteville City Council created an Outdoor Refreshment Area, running from Dickson Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and from Arkansas Ave. to College Ave., that will allow for public alcohol consumption.
In 2019, the Arkansas State Legislature passed Act 812, which allows cities and towns to create entertainment districts with the purpose of promoting hospitality and tourism. According to the act, an entertainment district is a “contiguous area located in a part of a city…that is zoned for or customarily used for commercial purposes and contains any number and any combination of restaurants, taprooms, taverns, entertainment establishments, hospitality establishments, music venues, theaters, bars, art galleries, art studios, tourist destinations, distilleries, dance clubs, cinemas or concert halls.” These districts may be permanent or temporary.
Mountain Home became the first city in Arkansas to establish an entertainment district after Act 812 was passed in 2019. Other cities that have created entertainment districts include El Dorado, Hot Springs, Little Rock, North Little Rock, Texarkana.
Image courtesy of City of Springdale