Share This Article
Correction: Residents and tourists can drink their beverages outside, so long as they purchase the alcohol through a business within the district, and if its in an authorized container. If alcohol is brought in from outside of the district, or if it is not in a correct container, it can only be transported from location to location within the district.
Mountain Home’s downtown entertainment district may be expanding.
A new ordinance to expand Mountain Home’s Baker District will be presented to members of the Mountain Home City Council during their regularly scheduled meeting tonight.
If approved, the district will expand to include the city blocks between 3rd Street and 9th Street and between Hickory Street and Church Street. The district will also include the block bordered by 6th Street, 7th Street, Gray Street and Hickory Street, as well as the block bordered by 7th Street, 8th Street, Elm Street and Hickory Street.
A map of the newly expanded district can be seen below.
Earlier this year, several business owners operating in Mountain Home’s entertainment district worked together to create the Baker District Merchant Association to keep downtown Mountain Home growing in the right direction.
Prior to the passage of Act 812 of 2019, which granted smaller cities in Arkansas the ability to create entertainment districts, Mountain Home’s downtown square and economy had stagnated. The stagnation prompted a group of concerned residents to transform the area into the tourist destination that it has become today.
Since the district was approved by the council, over 20 new businesses have found their homes in the entertainment district. And while some residents have been reluctant to embrace the new growth in Mountain Home, the success of Mountain Home’s entertainment district is hard to deny.
And with a potential expansion set to happen on Thursday evening, even more businesses may find themselves joining the Baker District Merchant Association in the near future. A goal that Rapp’s Barren Brewery co-owner Russell Tucker has had his eye on for some time.
“People outside of the district are wanting to be a part of this,” Tucker said earlier in the year when unveiling Baker District’s new logo. “But we had to set boundaries. We had to set limitations on where this was, but it’s an exciting thing and people want to be a part of it. If there’s anything on our radar other than marketing, it’s being able to grow and expand the entertainment district downtown to incorporate more businesses around us, so we can continue to become a bigger, more attractive destination place.”
So, what other businesses will be joining Mountain Home’s entertainment if City Council approves Thursday’s ordinance?
To start, some very popular tourist spots will be added to the district, including Mountain Mystery Escapes, The Rabbit Hole Coffeehouse and Brew, Sharp Edges Axe Throwing, and Retro Skating Rink. Also joining the entertainment district will be Treat Yo Shelf Books, Hamilton Shoe Repair, the Baxter County Historical Society, Heartland Pharmacy, and several boutiques and hair salons.
In addition to the new businesses, patrons will now be able to take their alcoholic beverages from one business to the other. Patrons are still allowed to drink their beverages on the sidewalk or while walking around so long as they are purchased from a business in the Baker District and if they are in approved containers, drinks not purchased in the Baker District can only be transported to a new location. Outdoor drinking is still allowed in designated outdoor sit-down dining areas.
The ordinance will also take several other ordinances under its wings, including the ordinance for A-frame signs in downtown Mountain Home and hours of operation.
As with the city’s past entertainment ordinance, the district will be overseen by an oversight committee composed of one member of the City of Mountain Home’s Governing Body, two business owners from the district, one member of the tourist industry, and one member of the public-at-large. Each member will be selected by the mayor.
Members shall serve terms of different lengths, with the public-at-large member serving for one year, the Governing Body and tourism member serving for two years, and the business owners serving for three years.
Members will meet in bi-monthly meetings and may be called to address urgent business by the mayor or the chairman of the oversight committee. The committee will also review the regulations and requirements of the district from time to time. Each member of the committee has equal voting rights.
In other council news, members of the council will look into budget adjustments for the Mountain Home Police Department, the Parks Department, the Mountain Home Fire Department, the Water/Sewer Departments and court automation.
Lastly, the council will present the final reading for their ordinance regulating the selling, manufacturing and discharging of fireworks within city limits.