CLARKSVILLE, TN (CLARKSVILLE NOW) – Hours for Clarksville’s new Downtown Entertainment District were approved by the City Council Thursday night, allowing for open container on downtown sidewalks on weekends and during certain events.
The new set of rules is based on a bill passed in May by the state Legislature. It allows city officials to designate times for open container, with rules similar to those used in Memphis’s downtown area.
“It brings a little bit of Beale Street to Clarksville,” said Rep. Jason Hodges, D-Clarksville, one of the sponsors for the bill.
The new hours passed their second reading as part of the council’s consent agenda, though Vondell Richmond, Dajuan Little, Wallace Redd and Trisha Butler marked no votes on the measure.
In previous meetings, some opposing council members remarked that it is unfair to allow only some businesses to benefit from the new rules, and that open container should be all-or-nothing.
According to the new rules, the Downtown Entertainment District will operate primarily on weekends.
The hours will be in effect Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. until midnight and Sunday 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Special hours are also in place for the first Thursday of each month when ArtWalk events are held.
The new rules allow for additional times as designated by Clarksville’s mayor or approved by a permit obtained from the city.
Ward 10 council member Stacey Streetman told the council last month that these hours are a baseline and could need adjustment in the future.
“To start out small to see how this needs to work, thinking about our police department, and that the businesses are going to have to deal with this differently than they have in the past,” Streetman said.
Streetman told Clarksville Now that new hours should be able to go into effect immediately.
Where is the district?
The Downtown Entertainment District includes a large portion of downtown from College Street to Franklin Street venues like the Roxy Regional Theatre and the under-construction F&M Bank Arena.
Adjacent properties such as the Custom’s House Museum and Cultural Center are also covered.
Riverside Drive is also included, though it will not share the same hours as the downtown area. Riverside Drive properties will be by special permit only, according to Streetman.