Kansas City has its Power and Light District. Nebraska might have entertainment districts of its own under a bill being considered in the legislature.
Sen. Colby Coash of Lincoln sponsors LB 1130, a bill that would allow cities to establish entertainment districts, which would allow patrons to move from one restaurant or bar to another, drink in hand. State law prohibits carrying an open container outside an establishment.
Coash understands objections will be raised immediately. He says he has worked hard to include accountability and enforcement in his bill.
“Law enforcement, I reached out to them early, and they said as long as the cities have the ability to police themselves and put in rules that make sense for those communities, we think we can make this work as well,” according to Coash.
The bill would apply to any city in Nebraska. Yet, Coash envisions it fitting in well with the development planned around the $150 million Pinnacle Bank Arena, being erected in downtown Lincoln. The development will be called the Yard, a retail area featuring restaurants and bars next to the new home of the Nebraska Cornhuskers basketball team. Patrons of the Yard would be allowed to roam from bar to bar without leaving their drinks behind.
Under the bill, cities would be given authority to create a confined area that could be designated an entertainment district. Cities would revoke the designation for any reason at any time. An entertainment district liquor license would not be cheap. Establishments would have to pay $300 for the license, plus an extra $600 occupation tax.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]