HOMEWOOD, Ala. (WIAT) – New developments in a Your Voice Your Station report we brought you in February.
Plans to develop two new entertainment districts in Homewood are now on hold. The city launched its first one downtown in Soho Square last fall.
“It just provides a great gathering space for areas while letting the restaurants benefit from that without risk of violating any ABC rules,” Homewood City Council President Alex Wyatt said. “All the district does is it allows these licensees to get a different license. It doesn’t increase the availability of any alcohol.”
If you buy an alcoholic drink, you can sit out on benches downtown in Soho Square.
“It works for downtown, a certain area of the downtown area – they’re really intended for large public spaces,” Homewood resident Chadwick Stogner said.
Stogner is not on board with plans to consider Edgewood and West Homewood as additional entertainment districts – worried about the proximity to schools and the exposure to children.
“This is one of the few safe spaces for kids all over the metro area but especially Homewood kids,” Stogner said.
The city can only establish two entertainment districts, but because a third option is on the table, that’s why state legislators get involved.
“There wasn’t time for a vote, so the sponsor of the bill went ahead and pulled the bill,” Wyatt said.
Wyatt says it passed the senate and would have had a public hearing in the house Wednesday. He said they can’t vote the same day as a public hearing. Stogner said that’s not the case.
“They said they were going to run out of time, but they were going to vote on it,” Stogner said. “The outrage in the community was sufficient enough to have them pull back.”
Wyatt said council will look at both districts again and decide if it wants to move forward with one of the areas as an entertainment district. Otherwise, if they want to go with both, he said they’ll have to wait until the next legislative session in 2023.