Metropolis Council to vote on downtown leisure district

TEXARKANA, Texas – During a regular session on Monday, the city council will hold a public hearing and vote on establishing a downtown entertainment district that allows outdoor drinking.

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

If the district-endorsing ordinance is passed, open, glass-free containers with alcoholic beverages may be opened outdoors with the exception of Sundays between 2.15 a.m. and 12.00 p.m. and on other days between 2.15 a.m. and 7.00 a.m.

The district would largely coincide with the Downtown Arts and Historic District and include the Perot Theater, Texarkana Regional Arts Center, Art Park, Kress Gap, Ace of Clubs House, Pecan Point, and Silvermoon on Broad, but not that Bi-State Justice Building.

The ordinance prohibits the use of glass containers for liquids on public roads, sidewalks or alleys and does not conflict with existing noise ordinances. The state alcohol law, including the need for permits to sell alcohol and the ban on open containers in vehicles, would remain in place.

If the ordinance is approved, city officials will consider the need for additional bins and garbage disposal.

Re-zoning, permits

The council will also hold hearings and vote on a number of requests for reassignment and approval:

– Re-zoning of an undeveloped plot of land north of Gazola Str. 100 in order to build multi-family houses there. The property owner is considering donating it to the mountain. Sinai House of Prayer Church, which has proposed several apartment building projects in the immediate area.

– Re-zoning and granting of a special use permit to build a double-wide prefabricated house in 302 Daniels St.

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

– Zoning 605 Ward Ave. and granting a special use permit to enable a double-wide prefabricated house there.

Another pair of hearings and votes concerns requests for grants from the Texas Department of Transportation to fund improvements to pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure.

If the council approves the proposals, the city will ask for $ 1.8 million for sidewalks along Kennedy Lane and $ 800,000 for sidewalks along Leopard Lane.

The city would apply for two different TxDOT funding programs, Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside (TASA) and Safe Routes to School-Infrastructure (SRTS).

No matching funding is required for SRTS grants, but TASA grants require a 20% grant, which the city would pay with a combination of in-kind and cash. Federal funding could cover gaming expenses.

Block grants for community development

The council will receive initial information on three measures in connection with block grants for municipal development of the federal government. Public hearings and votes will follow during the next scheduled meeting of the Council on July 12th.

One would amend the city budget to include more than $ 293,000 in CDBG funding received as a result of the COVID Aid CARES bill. The second would move $ 163,000 from an inactive loan fund to another fund that will repay CDBG-guaranteed loans. The third would approve the city’s 2021 action plan for CDBG funds.

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

The meeting is for Monday at 6:00 p.m. at City Hall, 220 Texas Blvd. A live video stream will be available through the city’s website,