OUR VIEW: Extending the city's event district

Cullman's downtown business district is becoming one of the top areas for public events drawing thousands of locals and visitors to enjoy shopping, dining and entertainment.

From the Festhalle Market Platz on 1st Avenue along the north to Busy Bee on the south, there is a growing desire to establish a pedestrian-friendly area that hosts festivals, live entertainment and assists merchants in bringing more people into town.

The Cullman City Council has rescheduled a public hearing for July 10 to discuss the proposal of establishing a special events district spanning seven blocks. The original district starts at Depot Park and ends around the parking lot behind the Cullman County Museum.

The newly-proposed district will run between the railroad tracks and 2nd Avenue Southeast, from the Cullman Police Department to Busy Bee Cafe at 5th Street Southeast.

As recent events such as the Strawberry Festival and Oktoberfest show, a larger and more diverse area is needed for events. The extra space will allow event organizers to provide more traffic for stores and restaurants in a greater expanse of the downtown.

The special zone will also allow for alcohol sales and open containers in public areas, such as sidewalks. The key in this proposal is that city officials will maintain the right to open and close the district between events.

In other words, the special zone will only go into effect during special events that meet the approval of the City Council. An ordinance will need to be adopted to create the special events area.

City officials did excellent work in preparing Cullman for legal alcohol sales several years ago. Their effort in crafting the ordinance has been highly praised by residents and other communities who are going through a time of transition.

If there are no outstanding issues that surface during the public hearing, we encourage the City Council to approve the ordinance so more events can happen and benefit the downtown area and the entire community.

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