Nearly two years after the idea was first proposed, the gears on Camden's Entertainment District may start rolling again.
At the end of the Tuesday, Oct. 12, meeting Alderman James Bell stated, "As we all know, a couple of years ago, I brought forth the proposal for an entertainment district in downtown Camden. It was withdrawn to take another look at it. I've had a lot of conversations with people and would like to request a workshop and public hearing be set up for all of us to take a look at it before it got brought in to the actual monthly meeting."
A formal date was not set at the meeting, but Mayor Julian Lott stated that one would be set shortly.
Bell withdrew his proposal in November 2019 meeting as it was set for a third and final reading. The ordinance would have allowed for looser open container laws concerning alcohol in the allotted area. When the proposal was first introduced, much of downtown and beyond was encompassed.
"I have a feeling most of you are here because of an ordinance I submitted before this council for the establishment of an entertainment district. I've heard a lot over the past few months," Bell said in front of a packed Camden Municipal Building in 2019. "Many people were for it and there are many people against it ... Many of you know many of the basics. There are certain details that have gotten lost in the conversation; that is my fault for not properly stating what it was meant to be and for not fully communicating what the purpose of it was.
"I've been in conversation with many people and I have decided that tonight I was going to withdraw the ordinance, to be resubmitted at a later date. Pastor Jerry Ables of Victory Church has agreed to collaborate with me on addressing some of the concerns. I look forward to working with Pastor Ables to develop something that everyone in the community can feel safe and secure and enjoy," he said then.
An informal poll taken around that time by the Camden News asked readers "Do you support the proposal for an Entertainment District in Camden?" and invited them to reply in the comment section. Nine hundred sixty-nine readers answered, 810 in favor and 159 opposing the district.
In other business:
• Ordinance No. 09-21, an ordinance rezoning property located at 1315 W. Washington from RS-2 (Single Family District) to C-1 (Professional Office District) passed unanimously. The ordinance changes the listing of the former St. Mark's Church from a residence to a business. The The proposal had already went before the Camden Planning and Zoning Commission at its meeting. Property owner Mike Cox said he did not know what he was going to do with the building exactly, but he has had several offers from various people.
•Resolution No. 61-21, a resolution authorizing the offering of Bonds to refund the City's Water and Sewer Revenue Bond passed unanimously. The bond from Stephens Inc. would be set at 3.13%.
• Resolution No. 62-21, a resolution confirming the appointment of Travis Daniel to the Advertising and Promotion Commission passed unanimously. Daniel is a former Code Inspector for the City of Camden, owns apartment buildings downtown and is a member of the Downtown Camden Network.