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City ponders rotating entertainment districts

Palestine remains a long way from establishing a downtown entertainment district that could help brand the city and revitalize the city’s core. Such a district would provide, among other things, a compact and convenient venue for music, entertainment, and food.

Some city officials are even considering multiple, or rotating, “entertainment districts.” With this option, so-called overlay zoning would enable the city to use different downtown locations, depending on the activity or event.

Most of the seven Palestine City Council members have expressed support for a downtown entertainment district of some kind.

The next step, City Manager Michael Hornes said, is to get recommendations from downtown business owners on how to create and develop the district. “We have ideas, but we need information from stakeholders,” he said.

Hornes supports the idea of a downtown entertainment district, noting that such districts have thrived in other cities. “We want it to work for everyone,” he said.

Mayor Steve Presley favors an overlay district, with comparable and enabling zoning for all downtown. Such a plan would allow the city to select different locations for different events.

“An overlay would help ease some of the red tape,” Hornes said. “We want to make sure it is a positive impact. It’s in the infancy stages of talking about it.”

Palestine Police Chief Andy Harvey, formerly of the Dallas Police Department, proposed an entertainment district in Palestine, shortly after taking office on Aug. 28.

“I think it would be good for our city, as long as we have a security plan in place,” he said. “The city and stakeholders of the (entertainment) district have to come up with something that is reasonable and safe.”

Harvey said such a district would benefit the city, but he also said it could create potential problems, including the effects alcohol. The city and police department would need to prepare for

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