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Compromise on Rosa Parks Square alcohol ban could be reached Wednesday

Former Macon Mayor C. Jack Ellis opposes beer festival in park

Former Macon Mayor C. Jack Ellis says he doesn't want Rosa Parks Square to turn into a beer garden. His announcement came a day before a beer festival was planned in the park.
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Former Macon Mayor C. Jack Ellis says he doesn't want Rosa Parks Square to turn into a beer garden. His announcement came a day before a beer festival was planned in the park.

A much-debated proposal to ban alcohol at Rosa Parks Square could be resolved this week.

After two months of discussion, the Macon-Bibb County Commission is set to take up the matter again at Wednesday’s pre-commission meeting.

Some Macon-Bibb officials appeared to reach a compromise last week that barring alcohol inside the downtown park would be approved as long as a new park is built. This week’s meeting is being held Wednesday because of the Fourth of July holiday.

The ordinance would need to get through Wednesday’s pre-commission meeting in order to make it on the regular commission meeting agenda.

As part of the compromise, Poplar Street Commons would be built at the median of Poplar between First and Second streets. Rosa Parks Square would also be designated as a memorial to the civil rights icon.

The issue of barring alcohol inside Rosa Parks Square was initially brought up at an April 29 news conference where local leaders spoke out in opposition to a beer festival at the park. A month later, about 100 people came out to public hearing on the proposal.

Permission must now be granted in order to host events that allow alcohol at Macon-Bibb parks.

Jim Beall was among a group of people who spoke Wednesday about a proposed Macon-Bibb County ordinance that would ban alcohol inside the park.

Downtown business district

The County Commission is also scheduled to vote Wednesday on a measure establishing a downtown tax district.

The Downtown Macon Business Improvement District ordinance would allow revenue from an additional 5 mills of property taxes to be reinvested into downtown. A projected $375,000 annually would likely be used to focus on cleanliness and safety, according to the downtown booster agency NewTown Macon.

The downtown Business Improvement District would run from New Street down past Fifth and Pine streets and over to Riverside Drive.

A public hearing on the proposed district will take place at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday inside the Macon-Bibb County Government Center, 700 Poplar St.

The County Commission meeting starts at 6 p.m.

Stanley Dunlap: 478-744-4623, @stan_telegraph

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