FLORENCE, Ala. – Change is coming to downtown Florence. In 2018, the city council adopted an ordinance designating a portion of the downtown area as an entertainment district. This week they changed the rules.
“We have done all the right things to make our downtown the true anchor that it should be for economic development,” stated Florence Mayor Steve Holt.
In February 2018, the council created a 17-block entertainment district. It essentially allows people to purchase alcohol in one business and take it onto the streets. They designated certain weekends for the district to be active. Restaurants see a big increase in business on those weekends.
“I would say it brings in a lot more people,” said Chase Smith with Wildwood Tavern. “It just kind of gives somebody the opportunity to enjoy a beverage while taking in something like our Renaissance Faire or any of the downtown things that we put on.”
The rules have now been changed. Now between 5 p.m. on Friday and 6 p.m. on Sunday evening, the entertainment district will be in effect.
“Nobody has acted out and I think when that became apparent and doing it with the restricted dates, I think when that became apparent they decided, 'hey this is not the end of the world, let’s just make it happen every weekend.'”
The only caveat, the entertainment district will not be in place for First Friday’s because they would like to keep it more of a family atmosphere.
The change to the entertainment district dates and hours will go into effect this weekend for downtown Florence.