TEXARKANA, Ark. (KTAL/KMSS) – Bar hopping in Texarkana will never be the same, now that the Arkansas-side’s entertainment district is officially open.
New green lines on the roads downtown indicate the boundaries for the new district. Now, adults of legal age can now legally consume alcoholic beverages in open containers outside bars and restaurants within this designated district.
City leaders are hoping the move brings a buisness boom downtown.
“We wanted to take advantage of it because it is a money-maker, can be a potential money-maker for the city,” said Mayor Allen Brown.
Wednesday buisness owners, residents and city leaders celebrated the new district with a ceremonial toast.
“Every step for downtown in the right direction helps all the businesses down here,” said George Dodson, co-owner of Hopkins Icehouse. “And it makes the area look more attractive to not only other customers, but also other businesses.”
Now, customers are allowed to take their alcoholic drinks “to go” within the 14-block radius of the district.
Crews finished painting the last of the lines marking the district’s boundaries Wednesday.
“This is not gonna be a place where trouble is had, or anything like that,” said Brown. “It’s gonna be very well maintained and so we’re excited about just the new opportunity.”
Organizers said this is also an opportunity to enhance events downtown, like parades, festivals and outdoor music.
“That brings people down, and that brings other business to come down, when you have people coming,” said David Jones, co-owner of Hopkins Icehouse.
Entertainment districts now open in other Arkansas cities have city leaders optimistic about the future of Texarkana’s.
“It’s been very beneficial for those cities,” said Brown. “It’s been very exciting to read about how successful they’ve been, and we have that potential to be that successful here.”
Open containers must be kept within the green boundaries of the entertainment district, and only consumed during the hours of 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. Sunday and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday – Saturday.
All alcoholic beverage control laws are still in effect.
Several events are planned Thursday night to celebrate the new district, including a Taste of Downtown event sponsored by the Greater Texarkana Young Professionals and live music.