A standing-room-only crowd was on hand for Thursday evening’s Mountain Home City Council meeting when an ordinance establishing an entertainment district was approved 5-3, with Mayor Hillrey Adams casting the deciding vote.
Recently passed legislation allows the establishment of entertainment districts under certain restrictions where outdoor drinking is permitted. Senate bill 492, now known as Act 812 Act 812, narrowly passed both legislative chambers in early April.
Those members voting in favor of establishing an entertainment district in downtown Mountain Home were Jim Bodenhamer, Paige Evans, Bob Van Haaren and James Whalen, with Jennifer Baker, Eva Frame and Don Webb voting in opposition. Council member Wayne Almond was absent.
Mayor Adams says City Attorney Roger Morgan advised the mayor could not vote to advance the measure from second to third readings, but could when the ordinance was being considered for adoption.
However, the ordinance gained six votes to advance it between readings, with council member Frame casting the lone dissenting vote.
Mayor Adams says passage of the ordinance came after the measure was amended.
Originally, the plan was for the entertainment district to be established following the lines of Mountain Home’s historic commercial district.
The historic commercial district runs from Fifth Street to Eighth Street and from Hickory to South Street. It excludes Mountain Home City Hall and the Baxter County Courthouse.
As amended and approved, the entertainment district will not include South Street. Instead, it will run from Hickory to Church Street.
The provision of the legislation allowing for open containers of alcohol under certain restrictions led to a second amendment.
Mayor Adams says merchants within the entertainment district boundaries with an ABC license will not be selling alcoholic beverages in carry-out containers during the Mountain Home Friday Night Block Party events. Instead, sales of carry-out containers will begin after the conclusion of the block party events or roughly 9 p.m.
The ordinance becomes effective July 26.
The state law permitting entertainment districts becomes effective July 24.
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