Toledo looks to expand downtown community entertainment districts
The number of community entertainment districts in the downtown area could grow substantially if a new proposal is approved by Toledo City Council.
Community entertainment districts are designated areas consisting of a combination of entertainment, retail, social, or cultural businesses with access to additional liquor licensing.
The Regional Growth, Development and Small Business Enterprise Committee will consider a proposal to reconfigure the current community entertainment districts boundary map in downtown Toledo from having five districts to having eight.
Toledo Councilman Theresa Morris leads the committee and supports the proposal.
“We are trying to attract businesses and people to come downtown, and we want to build the downtown area,” she said. “This is like tailgating city-style, it will bring folks down here.”
The new proposal adds approximately 500 acres of property in the bounded entertainment districts, which is nearly double the current size, including a new district on the east side of the Maumee River at the Glass City Metropark, and expanded areas in the southern portion of downtown.
The state of Ohio designates community entertainment districts in concentrated areas of economic density and allows one special license per five-acre parcel, which enables the sale of beer, wine, and spirits.
Each district is allowed a maximum of 15 licenses, and Toledo has taken advantage of that requirement by making each district larger than 75 acres to get the maximum number of licenses per district to spur economic growth, said Cindy Kerr, vice president of operations with ConnecToledo, a downtown development corporation working on the proposal with city officials.
“We are laying the groundwork for additional entertainment to come,” Ms. Kerr said. “This plan allows us to look 20 years into the future.”
Redevelopment plans for multiple buildings in the downtown area, such as at Fort Industry Square, are to include a mix of retail, residential and restaurants, and the current community entertainment districts boundaries do not support that type of long-term growth, she said.
“We need to have available liquor licenses in order to attract future developers, who then, in turn, attract restaurants, so this is key to advancing a downtown area,” Ms. Kerr said.
The program will help to enhance areas in and around Glass City Metropark, including the addition of Poco Piatti restaurant, which is scheduled for construction as part of the second phase of park development, said Scott Carpenter, Metroparks Toledo director of public relations.
“We’ve seen private development already as a result of Glass City Metropark, and we anticipate more, so creating that district helps move things along,” he said. “We do plan to activate that park with a lot of special events and there may be occasions where we might have liquor sales in the pavilion during special events, concerts for example, so this would make that process easier as well. ”
Alcoholic beverages will not be available for sale at Middlegrounds Metropark, which is on the west side of the Maumee River and is not part of the new configuration, Mr. Carpenter said.
Businesses with existing liquor licenses located in the newly proposed district boundaries would not be affected if the proposal is approved, Ms. Kerr said.
The Regional Growth, Development and Small Business Enterprise Committee plans to hold a public meeting on the issue at 3 p.m. April 4 in Toledo City Council chambers in Government Center. The committee will make a recommendation to the council, which will then act on the proposal. If approved, the new community entertainment districts plan would move to the state of Ohio’s Liquor Control Division for final review and approval.
Posted By: The Toledo Blade on March 16, 2022. For more information, please click here to read the source article.
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