TALLADEGA — The Talladega City Council voted 4-0 Monday night to approve the creation of a downtown entertainment district, as required by Alabama’s ongoing Main Street application process.
Councilor Trae Williams was absent, as was Mayor Timothy Ragland.
The neighborhood includes Courthouse Square and businesses with liquor licenses in this area, including Talladega Bottling Works, Matehuala Mexican Restaurant, and the Ritz Theater. In a separate action also approved on Monday, the council also approved a beer license application for Bruh Law’s Gourmet Burgers, which also falls under the new entertainment district.
The neighborhood also encompasses most of the downtown public parking lots, extending to the East Street parking lot next to the post office.
According to the order presented to council on Monday, the entertainment district will allow the consumption of alcoholic beverages outdoors, with certain restrictions. Beverages must be in recyclable paper or plastic cups no larger than 16 fluid ounces with the vendor’s name or logo on them. You cannot transport a beverage purchased from one business to another business that also sells alcohol.
You can only carry one drink at a time. You still cannot have an open container in a motor vehicle, and beverages purchased outside the district cannot be brought into it.
The resolution passed with minimal discussion and no dissent on Monday.
There were two other action items on Monday’s agenda that also dealt to some extent with the Main Street application process.
The first, which also passed without controversy, was an agreement with the Hall of Heroes to serve as a temporary tourist commission. According to the resolution itself, “this contract would allow the Hall of Heroes to promote, market and advertise tourist attractions in the greater Talladega area using funds appropriated by the city from the lodging tax collected and allocated to tourism”. The council also approved a 2% increase in accommodation tax earlier this year.
The other item has actually been tabled until a convened meeting to be held on May 6 at 9 a.m. This ordinance would create a Historic Preservation Overlay, which would replace the Historic Preservation District that this council abolished nearly two years ago. After removing the ward, the council never took any action to replace it with anything.
Preservation rules for the old quarter were enforced by a Historic Preservation Commission made up of members appointed by the council.
The new ordinance would move preservation requirements into the city’s zoning statute. It would be up to the city building inspector to enforce the law.
Council President Dr Horadce Patterson said he would seek motions for immediate consideration from the meeting convened on May 6. Approval for immediate review is expected to be unanimous, so if anyone votes against, the board also rescinds the following day, May 7. at 10 a.m., for a second meeting called to take up the matter. Unanimous consent would not be required for immediate consideration at the May 7 meeting.
Also on Monday, the board:
—Reappointed Mark Nelson as a municipal court judge for two years.
—$2,500 donation to Dancing with Stars to benefit the Alabama Council for the Blind.
—Reappoints the Reverend Hugh Morris to the Board of Adjustments and Appeals.
— Approval of a memorandum of understanding between the city and Alabama Power/Alabama Properties regarding ownership of the golf course. The memorandum approved on Monday makes some fairly minor changes to a similar agreement approved at a previous meeting.
—Approved an agreement with the Alabama Department of Education for the 2022 Summer Food Program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
—Approved matching funds for the airport improvement project for this year.
—Approved an expense of $488,475 for water service, although Councilman Joe Power questioned an item of $8,400 for grass cutting. City manager Seddrick Hill said he would look into the matter and report back to council at a later date.
—Discussed the paving of a road in the Brecon mobile home park which an outside buyer expressed interest in buying. No action was taken on Monday.