Kilgore council approves entertainment district ordinance
March 27, 2013 at 11 p.m.
Kilgore City Council members approved an ordinance Tuesday establishing a portion of downtown as an entertainment district.
The action long has been discussed as an element in revitalizing the historical district along with other efforts that have drawn new restaurants, retail shops and residents to the World's Richest Acre.
The four-block district will not be subject to the city's noise ordinance, the council decided. Businesses in the new district also must be open until at least 10 p.m., though council members accepted a recommendation from the Planning and Zoning Commission to limit late-hour nights to Thursday through Saturday.
City Manager Scott Sellers said there was conservative opposition to the designation, which is designed to lure night clubs, as well as more restaurants, retailers and apartments. However, Texas Shakespeare Festival Director Raymond Caldwell and two actors in an ongoing show based on the Gospel of Luke spoke favorably of the change.
"At the end of the night, some people were moved to tears," Sellers said. "And it was unanimous to create the district."
The council included in the district a vacant lot where Charles Whiteside had said he won't build apartments as he planned. The zoning commission had sided with Whiteside, who was concerned about easing the noise ordinance and a requirement that first floors be dedicated to businesses.