HOMEWOOD, Ala. (WIAT) — Homewood already has two entertainment districts in the downtown and West Homewood areas. The city needs approval from the state legislature to move forward with a third district for the Edgewood neighborhood, which is a process still weeks away from completion.
“A restaurant owner can allow people to get outside their own property line but within the confines of the entertainment district. You still can’t bring your own beer or alcohol into it. You can’t even go from one licensee and go into a different restaurant with that,” says Alex Wyatt, Homewood City Council President.
Wyatt emphasizes the importance of understanding what the district does and doesn’t allow. He has heard the concerns of citizens who worry about what the designation would mean. But he reiterates: nothing will change without weeks of gathering public input.
“We would go through a public process, public hearings, talk to the residents and store owners that have quite frankly been advocating for this, talk to anyone who has a concern about it and decide whether to move forward with either or both,” Wyatt adds.
The concept has worked well in neighboring Mountain Brook’s Crestline community, according to city leaders.
“You had a few people that had concerns about what the potential hours might be and the noise and what the potential fallout might be. But at the end of the day, everybody was really accepting and excited about it,” Garner says.
Both leaders say their respective police departments support the prospect and the districts already in place, saying it allows officers to focus on other things besides policing local businesses and residents to stop people from carrying drinks out onto the sidewalks. Both leaders say their police departments have reported no incidents as a result of the districts.
The Alabama State Legislature is in the process of writing the local bill now. If approved, Homewood City Council would then have to propose an ordinance leading to weeks of public input before taking a vote. The concept would have to be advertised to the public for a month before a vote would take place.