Clarksville Considering Reduced Liquor License Fee to Boost Waterfront

Clarksville, Ind. officials are hoping to increase waterfront development. One way to do that, they say, is make it cheaper to get a liquor license.

CLARKSVILLE, Ind. (WHAS) -- The Clarksville waterfront has the view, with the Louisville skyline and the natural beauty of the Ohio River, but outside of an ice cream and coffee shop, there is not too much else, at least for now.

"It's such an attractive land for people to live, work and play," Clarksville Town Councilmember D.A. Stonecipher said.

The Town of Clarksville is working on a plan - the South Clarksville Redevelopment Plan that aims to revitalize the south side of town, which has predominantly remained an industrial area.

"We're moving out of the planning and dreaming phase and now we're really getting down to brass tax and talking strategy," Stonecipher, who is also the president of the Clarksville Redevelopment Commission, said.

One of the tools the Town of Clarksville is hoping to implement is creating a Riverfront Redevelopment District, which is a state program that would allow businesses to pay a reduced annual rat on liquor licenses as low as $1,000 as long as the business is within the district determined by the municipality, which is 1,500 feet or three blocks from the waterfront.

"It essentially works as a startup cost reduction for those businesses," Clarksville Director of Redevelopment Dylan Fisher said.

According to Fisher, each municipality is only granted a certain number of three-way liquor licenses from the state, so businesses often have to go to second-hand sources, which can cost them up to $65,000. The incentive would save businesses money, encouraging them to move to the waterfront area.

"We don't have that to point to and show off, and that's what we're working to establish with the South Clarksville Redevelopment Plan," he said.

The town has hired the Wheatley Group to help consult them through the process of setting up the district. Fisher said the process takes around 120 days, but if the process passes, restaurants and businesses could begin to apply for liquor licenses under this program as early as 2018.

One does not have to look far to find success stories. Clarksville town officials said both its neighbors, Jeffersonville and New Albany, have taken advantage of this program.

"Both those communities to our understanding enacted and enabled this program right about the same time they started seeing the renaissance of their downtowns," Fisher said.

"We're in competition, friendly competition, with all the municipalities around us, and so in order for us to be competitive and to continue to grow Clarksville and the downtown area, we have to get in the game," Stonecipher said.
 

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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