Ravenna officials are taking out their city maps and plotting potential places where the city's entertainment district might be.
Or maybe, entertainment districts.
The city, as it turns out, can have multiple entertainment districts, as long as each one has 20 contiguous acres. That's about the size of four parcels the size of Ravenna's old high school. There are 3,650 acres in the city.
Now that Ohio has changed the Ohio Revised Code to allow Ravenna to get an entertainment district, city officials are pushing it as a solution to bring new businesses to the city, and retain current ones.
One of the benefits of having an entertainment district is that the businesses in them can get liquor licenses easier. Right now, the city is limited on how many licenses can be issued, based on its population, and some restaurants, such as Guido's and Mimi's, have been unable to obtain one.
By applying for an entertainment district, the City of Green in Summit County obtained 15 extra liquor licenses. Green is larger than Ravenna, both in size and in population.
Kerry Macomber, Ravenna's economic development director, said to get an entertainment district, a property owner needs to make an application. The state charges $2,344 for every application, plus any application fee the city might charge. Representatives from the City of Green made their own application, preferring to spread the district over 900 acres so businesses wouldn't be clustered in one spot, she noted.
Macomber recommended that the city's Community Improvement Corporation apply for the entertainment district, since the CIC owns property on North Chestnut Street, using council's vision.
Officials have mentioned the Main Street corridor, while others have mentioned other locations, such as the former Smith and Cowan concrete plant and the property near Robinson Memorial Hospital.
Councilwoman Amy Michael, who works at Robinson Memorial Hospital, said that since some workers there have 30 minute meal breaks, that "there's no place you can go but Sheetz."
"If they were to put something out in that area, it would draw people from Shalersville as well," she said.
Macomber said she believes that would be a great place for the entertainment district. She also hopes that the former Smith and Cowan property could be a part of it.
She noted that even if the entertainment district includes areas that are not zoned for business, the zoning code will dictate how the property can be used. If the property is on Main Street, proposals also would have to go through the city's design review process.
"It isn't anything to fear," she said. "It's an economic development tool to help with restaurants and retail."
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