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FWB creates entertainment district for downtown

The city of Ft. Walton Beach has been discussing the idea of creating an entertainment district in the downtown area.
But some people have asked specifics about what would and would not be allowed in that area.

Once a month, the Ft. Walton Beach artwalk brings residents downtown to see what local businesses and vendors have to offer. Some think it might be a preview of what's to come if the city passes a proposed downtown entertainment district ordinance.

The artwalk is a special event that allows vendors to set up shop on the side of highway 98 and sell to residents.
    If the entertainment district is created, it could feature many more events like it.

Elaine Zink said, "The more things you have for people to do, the more people it will draw. Just like the artwalk brings people that would not normally come down here on a Friday night."
The district would bring no additional financial obligations to Ft. Walton beach.

The city is working with the Department of Transportation, and has gotten clearance to install radar signs on highway 98 through the area.

Hours of operation for the district are different during the days it would operate, Thursday through Sunday.
    During hours, live music would be allowed at a volume of 70 to 80 decibels.

A sound study done by the city showed only a handful of instances where that threshold has been crossed downtown.

Alcohol would only be allowed in plastic cups of 16 ounces or less, and a person may only have one cup at a time.

Tia Decker said, "With this going into passing, I think that it'll be more of an incentive for people to come down here and it'll help every business."

Currently, vendors are not allowed to operate on or next to city property.
A few would be permitted to do so within the district, during district hours.
   
"We are not allowed down here unless it's a special event right now, so that would give us much more exposure."

Residents are invited to voice their concerns before the final vote on March 25th.