The city of Ravenna can have more entertainment for adults, now that a change in the state law has deemed it grown up enough to have an entertainment district.
Kerry Macomber, Ravenna's economic development director, said the city has wanted to have an entertainment district for more than a year. But a quirk in the Ohio Revised Code stated that cities Ravenna's size were too young to have one.
The code had stated that cities Ravenna's size not established by 1840 were ineligible to have an entertainment district. Ravenna was incorporated in 1856.
The city met the other requirements, including having an historic downtown district, having a population between 10,000 and 20,000 and being in the same county as another town with an entertainment district.
Larger cities can qualify based on their size and/or having $50 million, $70 million or $100 million in investment in economic development.
Macomber turned to Law Director Frank Cimino, who suggested she seek assistance from the state legislator.
State Rep. Kathleen Clyde, a Democrat from Kent, and Sen. John Ecklund, a Republican from Geauga County, got the change worked into the state budget. That change allows cities to apply for an entertainment district as long as they were incorporated before 1860 and met the other requirements.
Clyde said liquor laws in Ohio tend to be written narrowly, "with economic development opportunities in mind."
"I was proud to help the city of Ravenna with an important economic development issue," she said.
Kent, Portage County's only city with an entertainment district, established the district last year.
Having an entertainment district will allow Ravenna to apply for more liquor licenses, but Macomber said she sees that as a secondary issue. The primary purpose in her mind, she said is to generate economic development through entertainment and the arts.
It will be about 90 days before Ravenna can turn in its application.
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