GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT)– The Guntersville City Council passed an arts and entertainment district Monday night. The ordinance passed in a vote of 5-2 with one abstention.
The vote came after more than an hour of public debate on the issue. The crowd appeared about evenly split when asked to stand if they were in favor and then again when asked to stand if they were opposed.
“To the advocates of this ordinance, progress is more alcohol, in more places, at more times and the revenue generated there by,” said Bill Millican who was opposed to the idea.
Al Bella, a local pastor representing the Marshall Baptist Association, also rose in opposition.
“Are you willing to sacrifice the safety of our children, our families, our law enforcement, and the future of our community? Throw politics aside. Stand upon your personal convictions.”
Wynn Davis spoke in favor of the district saying it would help bring people to town.
“When everybody questions the economic development I don’t think they see the big picture. This brings in art vendors. This brings in art shows. People are going to spend the night.”
Matt Arnold, the director of the Marshall County Economic Council and a Guntersville resident, also spoke in favor of the plan.
“Guntersville is a great, progressive town. We just have to take it to the next level. And I believe that the creation of an arts and entertainment district does just that.”
The district will officially become law on January 1st. It will have a 90 day trial run and will be in effect on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.