With a Frankfort City Commission meeting on the horizon, the city’s most prominent business and tourism advocacy boards have all endorsed an “entertainment district” designation for downtown.
The Frankfort/Franklin County Tourist and Convention Commission recently joined supporters of the measure. The Entertainment Destination Center (EDC) designation, which is a license given by Kentucky Alcohol Beverage Control, would give the city the ability to designate certain areas in which open alcohol containers are allowed during certain times. The tourism board unanimously approved a letter of support to Frankfort commissioners.
In the letter, board members wrote that an EDC designation supports the downtown master plan's goal to revitalize the area by promoting business and visitors.
“The EDC designation will activate our downtown by allowing and encouraging customers to get out and explore everything downtown Frankfort has to offer,” the letter states. “As an organization that promotes tourism and the economic benefit it brings, we believe that we must do everything possible to allow our restaurants, bars, retail and tourism attractions to grow and thrive. We trust this designation will help with that.”
The letters from Downtown Frankfort Inc. (DFI), the Frankfort Area Chamber of Commerce, Kentucky Capital Development Corp. (KCDC) and now the tourism board have been sent to the city commissioners for their consideration. If commissioners approve, they would then create an ordinance defining the boundaries of the EDC and apply through the ABC for a license, which would cost $2,577.
The city has already been enjoying the benefits of an EDC during some of its events without the proper license, according to Kelly Everman, director of DFI. That prompted DFI, which hosts the Summer Concert Series, to lead the effort to get those events into compliance with state law, which opened a possibility for the city to make downtown more vibrant.
Everman told The State Journal that the designation would allow for certain areas to be “activated” by the city as EDCs during special events. In those areas, adults would be able to congregate in public rights-of-way with open alcohol containers. Businesses that do not have state licenses to sell alcohol would be able to get a permit from the city.
“I find it interesting that it’s not just about bars and restaurants,” Everman said. “If you operate any business, you can have wine in your shop — with proper licenses. It allows other retail shops and businesses to compete and draw people in.”
The DFI board was the first to send in an endorsement of the EDC, the parameters of which have yet to be defined, but they could span from Mero Street to Second Street and from High Street to the Kentucky River.
City commissioners are expected to discuss the subject at their July 8 work session.