Listen: El Dorado Grapples With Unruly Behavior in Its Public Drinking District

This is news from Family Council in Little Rock. Today, we turn our attention to El Dorado, where the City Council has been discussing an ongoing issue in its downtown entertainment district.

During its July meeting, El Dorado’s City Council tackled the topic of  rowdiness in the city’s public drinking district, as reported by the El Dorado News Times. This district was established under Act 812 of 2019, which allows cities to create “quote unquote “entertainment districts” where alcohol can be carried and consumed publicly on streets and sidewalks. Such districts can be either permanent or temporary under this law.

Two years later, Act 874 of 2021 expanded the legislation to permit cities in dry counties to approve public drinking if they have a private club serving alcohol within the city limits. And most recently, Act 34 was passed, granting cities and towns without advertising and promotion taxes on hotels and restaurants the ability to establish their own entertainment districts with legal public drinking.

However, these legislative changes have not been without controversy. Family Council has strongly opposed each of these laws, citing concerns over the harm that public drinking can cause to communities.

In El Dorado, the City Council had previously authorized public drinking within a nine block entertainment district downtown. But recently, Council Member Frank Hash pointed out that the district has been experiencing recurring issues with disorderly and unruly behavior, especially during weekends.

According to a recent article in the El Dorado News Times, law enforcement has faced challenges in policing the area, and litter and disruptive behavior have become associated problems.

Proponents of public drinking districts argue that they can boost local economies and tourism, but Family Council’s opposition to these laws emphasizes the serious concerns surrounding public safety and the potential for drunk driving incidents. Public drinking doesn’t attract new businesses or revitalize Main Street, but rather it negatively affects neighborhoods and families.

As the debate over public drinking continues, communities like El Dorado are grappling with the consequences of implementing entertainment districts. The impact on public safety, local businesses, and neighborhood dynamics remains at the forefront of discussions for both citizens and lawmakers.

That concludes our news report for today. Thank you for joining us. If you liked this news report, be sure to check out our website at Thanks for listening!

El Dorado City Council Discusses Weekend “Rowdiness” in City’s Public Drinking District

During last week’s meeting, the El Dorado City Council discussed “rowdiness” in its entertainment district downtown, according to the El Dorado New-Times.

Act 812 of 2019 lets cities create “entertainment districts” where alcohol can be carried and consumed publicly on streets and sidewalks. These districts can be permanent or temporary under Act 812.

Act 874 of 2021 expanded the law to let cities in dry counties approve public drinking as well if the city contains a private club that serves alcohol.

This year lawmakers passed Act 34, which lets cities and towns that do not collect advertising and promotion taxes on hotels and restaurants establish entertainment districts where public drinking is legal. This has the potential to expand public drinking in Arkansas by letting communities authorize public drinking in entertainment districts even if the community does not cater toward hospitality and tourism.

Family Council strongly opposed each of these laws, because of the harm that public drinking causes to communities.

In 2019 El Dorado’s city council voted to authorize public drinking in an entertainment district covering approximately nine blocks downtown.

At the July 13 meeting, City Council Member Frank Hash reportedly noted that disorderly and unruly behavior has become a recurring problem on the weekends in parts of El Dorado’s public drinking district.

Yesterday’s El Dorado News-Times article indicates that law enforcement has faced challenges policing El Dorado’s entertainment district, and that litter and other types of disruptive behavior have been a problem associated with the area.

As we have said for years, public drinking is a scourge on the community.

It raises serious concerns about drunk driving and public safety.

Public drinking doesn’t attract new businesses, bolster the economy, or revitalize Main Street. It hurts neighborhoods and families.