How to go
The cities of Columbus and West Point are holding public hearings on changes to their alcohol rules.
Meetings are slated for this evening in West Point and Columbus. The topic: booze.
Finding ways to draw revenue into the city has Columbus looking at extending its alcohol hours, as well as allowing liquor and wine sales on Sunday. The city already allows Sunday beer sales.
And in West Point, selectmen are seeking public input on approving resort status for The Ritz Theater.
During an all-day council workshop Aug. 19, Ward 6 Councilman Bill Gavin, a former restaurateur, suggested allowing Sunday alcohol sales and giving bars and restaurants an extra 30 minutes to sell alcohol.
The city”s current ordinance allows for the sale of liquor and wine only from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Saturday.
City Attorney Jeff Turnage was asked to draw up a working ordinance, and the council will hear from the public on the matter today at 5 p.m. at City Hall.
Ownership of West Point”s The Ritz Theater appeared before West Point”s Board of Selectmen in July to ask for a resolution to apply for resort status.
Under resort status, a business already holding a liquor license is allowed to serve alcohol beyond state-regulated hours, as well as on Sundays.
Selectmen will take public input today at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall.
When The Ritz first requested resort status, the city had plans to extend resort status to a portion of downtown in an effort to draw other businesses to the area.
The selectmen and mayor since have decided to handle resort status on a case-by-case basis.
The theater, built on Commerce Street in 1931, once served as an entertainment hot spot for the city during America”s original obsession with the silver screen.
Milton Sundbeck purchased the theater more than two years ago and has since worked to restore the West Point icon, which now boasts a restaurant and spaces to be used as a conference center, performing venue or movie screening room.
Starkville in mid-August approved Sunday alcohol sales, seemingly starting a chain reaction in the Golden Triangle.
The board voted 4-3 in favor of amendments to the city”s alcohol ordinance, allowing businesses in the city to sell beer on Sundays.
The board Tuesday also voted to petition the State Tax Commission to allow restaurants, bars and nightclubs to sell liquor and wine by the glass on Sundays.
If the Columbus City Council votes to approve a new alcohol ordinance, it would be submitted for approval by the Mississippi State Tax Commission Alcoholic Beverage Control division.
The Tax Commission also would be petitioned should the West Point Board of Selectmen approve The Ritz”s resort status.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.
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