Business owners weigh in on entertainment district discussion - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Business owners weigh in on entertainment district discussion

Resort status means two things right away for a bar or restaurant: the establishment can be open 24 hours, and owners don't have to report food sales to the Alcohol Beverage Control. Source: WLBT Resort status means two things right away for a bar or restaurant: the establishment can be open 24 hours, and owners don't have to report food sales to the Alcohol Beverage Control. Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Thursday's public hearing on a possible entertainment district for downtown Jackson drew several business owners supporting the measure, saying it could jump start the area's economy.

One business owner, Tony Hancock, said he hears the same questions again and again when companies plan events in other cities.

"What city is it in? Where are we staying? What is there to do?" Hancock told the councilmen.

Hancock said establishing an entertainment district downtown would answer that question for anyone coming to Jackson.

Where those district boundaries end, though, remains a point of debate among many restauranteurs.

"Include the area, all of downtown, including the main entrances to our city on I-55 from High Street to the Pearl/Pascagoula interchange so that all of downtown has the opportunity to flourish again," said businessman John Dennery.

Some want their businesses included first, in parcels or sections.

Others are content to apply to the city for resort status at a later time, as long as they'll still get approved.

Resort status means two things right away for a bar or restaurant: the establishment can be open 24 hours, and owners don't have to report food sales to the Alcohol Beverage Control.

Club owner Roger Harris said resort status makes a huge difference in a business' bottom line.

"You can sell liquor without having to have a kitchen. When you have a kitchen, your insurance just went up, and you know, you're running food and stuff, a fire can break out," Harris said.

Councilman De'Keither Stamps says they're also going to look at establishing JATRAN routes for people to be able to navigate downtown more safely.

"You have to be able to get someplace on foot, and you need to feel safe when you do it, so there has to be a lot of streetscape. Wherever this resort status starts, it will grow, and once you have that, then it will be that thing people talk about why they want to come to Jackson," Jackson Convention Complex General Manager Al Rojas said. 

The city council plans to discuss the matter again on Tuesday.

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