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Cañon City considers ‘entertainment district’

Posted at 9:06 PM, May 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-15 00:19:12-04

CAÑON CITY – Hoping to continue the momentum from enthusiasm and attention generated by a near-win to be featured in a reality TV show highlighting small businesses, city officials and local businesses are considering establishing an ‘Entertainment District’ downtown.

Within the Entertainment District, which could be as large as 100 acres in size, downtown businesses could combine to host live music in the street and other entertainment, and attendees of legal drinking age would be able to buy their alcoholic beverage in one bar or restaurant, take it outside onto the sidewalk and onto Main Street (which would be closed during such events), and then take it in to another store or restaurant.

Specifics regarding the proposal have yet to be hammered out.  The idea was introduced Tuesday night during a meeting between the mayor, interim city administrator, city council members, and downtown merchants.  Ostensibly, it would be similar to entertainment districts in other cities and towns like Fort Collins, Greeley, and Salida.  The entertainment district could rotate through different areas of downtown, as long as at least two restaurants or bars serving alcohol are co-participants in the event.  Participating businesses would need to form a promotional association and schedule their events with the city.  Alcohol would have to be consumed from plastic cups with a specific color or other designation assigned to participating venues.

“The pros are it can draw a lot of traffic to downtown, especially if you’re having bands and different types of entertainment happening during the event,” said Interim City Administrator Ryan Stevens.  “Cons? I think when you have open consumption on the streets, it could bring a certain type of element to the community.”

Nearly every detail of the proposal still needs to be worked out, including security and monitoring of the districts or events to ensure responsible service and consumption.  “We’re just in the idea phase,” Stevens said.