Open Containers Supported by Mayor and Local Church at Montevallo, Alabama Art Walk – ART WALK NEWS

Open Containers Supported by Mayor and Local Church at Montevallo, Alabama Art Walk

Seems Montevallo Mayor Hollie Cost and the local church supports the idea of creating an arts and entertainment district in the downtown city core which would allow people to carry open containers of alcoholic beverages during specified times.

Untitled-1Cost says the idea grew out of a strategic plan that was based in part on input from Montevallo residents.

“We have so many new exciting events that we’re hosting now in the city new opportunities for our citizens, so this is the natural evolution of what has already been proposed by the citizens in town,” said Cost.

She says that creating the district will allow the city to attract more visitors and bring in more revenue for city services.

Montevallo is a city in Shelby County, Alabama, United States. A college town, it is the home of the University of Montevallo, a public liberal arts university with around 3,000 students. As of the 2000 census, the population of the city of Montevallo is 4,825. Hollie Campbell Cost, a professor in the College of Education at the University of Montevallo, serves as Mayor.  The city has a total area of 7.7 square miles was once controlled by the Creek Indians, until 1814 making it the oldest settlement in Shelby County.

“The actual structure of the entertainment district is that we are going to look at a designated area of downtown Montevallo, designate that as our arts and entertainment district as really a way to promote cultural activities to promote cultural events downtown and just a way to obviously increase our revenue because we’ve seen that this is a great for the city,” said Cost.

According to Cost the concept has proven to be successful in cities such as Opelika, and would be similar in its dynamic to existing festivals in Montevallo.

She says people have been participating in the Montevallo Art Walk Festival with open containers since 2011 without incident.

“Part of the entertainment district, the arts and entertainment district
t you would then be able to walk around with an open container and the open container is very specific. It would need to be in a designated cup that the city does provide to businesses who can then purchase the cups. Individuals would only be allowed to walk around with these cups during designated hours in a designated area, would not be permitted to refill the cups and if there are any problems then they would be addressed as needed,” said Cost.

The entertainment district resolution is on the agenda for the December 14th, Montevallo City Council meeting, but Cost says she will not recommend it for a vote.

She wants residents to have ample opportunity to share their thoughts.

“I’ve had about 50 percent of the folks that have contacted me are very supportive. About 50 percent have some legitimate concerns. Part of their concerns were how will this impact the children, is it setting a bad example for the children, and the way that we look at that is, restaurants currently already serve alcohol. Alcohol is legal so we’ve recognized that is a concern, but there will be the same laws publicly that there have been in the past as far as no underage drinking. If anyone is out of control we will call police in,” said Cost.

“I don’t want Bourbon Street for Montevallo. We already have a Bourbon Street. Montevallo is a family-oriented community. We have wonderful respect for the arts and I want it to continue being just that,” she continued.

The original district boundaries extended out to Montevallo High School, but Mayor Cost said that the high school had been excluded in the revised plan. The hours have also been scaled back and would now be Monday-Friday 4:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. and Saturday from 2:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., according to Cost.

The district would run from Eclipse Coffee and Books to Montevallo City Hall along Main Street and extend one block in either direction on both sides of the street.

Montevallo First Baptist Church Pastor Terry Sutton says his church is opposed to the plan.

Sutton tells WIAT 42 News that the open container provision of the entertainment district plan is the biggest sticking point with his church.

Dr. Sutton and deacons from the church drafted a resolution in response to the proposed district.