Citizen petition puts entertainment district to vote in November

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

By Samantha Jones

Eureka Springs won’t have a permanent entertainment district unless voters approve it later this year.

The Eureka Springs City Council voted on Feb. 10 to establish a permanent entertainment district with a sunset date of Sept. 30, when the council planned to re-evaluate the district. Before anybody could legally start drinking on the streets, however, 177 certified Eureka Springs voters signed a petition asking for the permanent district to be put on the ballot for the Nov. 3 general election.

City clerk Ann Armstrong said she contacted city attorney Tim Weaver, who told her the petition would put the entertainment district on hold until the election. Still, Armstrong said, some people didn’t understand the district isn’t active and drank alcohol on the street in the designated area.

“The businesses within the designated entertainment district were all notified, but the general public did not know,” Armstrong said, “so the decision was made to take down the signs because their presence was misleading.”

Until the general election on Nov. 3, Armstrong said, the permanent entertainment district is in limbo.

“Where we stand now is that it will be on the ballot in November, because 177 certified voters were not happy with the council’s decision and they wanted to decide for themselves,” Armstrong said.

Mayor Butch Berry said COVID-19 put the permanent district on hold anyway, saying he’s glad the issue won’t require a special election.

“We found out it can be put on a general ballot in November, so it won’t cost the city,” Berry said.

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