Ordinance forces Art Walk to dry out
by Rachel Miller
May 06, 2013 12:19 AM | 2166 views | 3 3 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — Theresa Jenkins, director of the Marietta’s Welcome Center, pleaded with the City Council at a meeting last week to change the zoning ordinance for city parks to allow a fundraising beer and wine garden in Atherton Square during Art Walks.

The council’s Parks, Recreation and Tourism Committee confirmed that construction would begin on a revitalization project for Atherton Square by early 2014.

But in order to initiate the federally funded $770,000 makeover, Atherton Square was officially zoned as a city park months ago.

Atherton Square is a courtyard owned by the city and located behind the Welcome Center.

Jenkins said she did not realize the change would prohibit the sale of alcohol on the lot, which caused the Welcome Center to cancel plans for a beer tent at Friday’s Art Walk.

The city sponsors Art Walks on the Square the first Friday night of each month during the summer months.

The city council supported redrafting the city code to allow for the sale and consumption of alcohol at city-sponsored events in Atherton Square. The new language, which will use the same exemptions for Glover Park, will be presented at today’s work session to the Judicial/Legislative committee.

The Welcome Center relied on grants from the City Council for almost 75 percent of its 2013 budget, but it is not under the city of Marietta’s authority.

Jenkins also is searching for her successor as the next director of the Marietta Welcome Center. She plans to retire this year.

The job description, which lists the duties for the organization’s board and staff, financial budgeting, as well as marketing, has been posted on several tourism websites.

“I may have someone in mind,” said Jenkins. “That’s all I’m willing to say.”

She said she will extend the deadline for applications a second time.

Councilman Philip Goldstein is on the Welcome Center’s board, but there is not a City Council representative on the search committee for the open position.
Comments
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Be Careful
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May 06, 2013
I have nothing against drinking. In fact, I enjoy a glass of wine or two at dinner most nights.

But...why all the fuss about selling booze at city events?

I mean, if you can't enjoy a day out on the square without drinking alcohol, there is something wrong with you.
Jim Warren
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May 06, 2013
I think the issue is that selling beer/wine makes money for the Visitor Center.
The World is Flat
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May 06, 2013
This story sounds benign, but I have some questions:

1. Why are they extending the deadline for applications for the replacement of the Director, but the Director says she "has someone in mind?" Are they conducting a search for her replacement? If so, why does "she" have someone in mind and not the board/selection committee? Or is the gathering of applications a formality?

2. Why is the retiring Director so interested in having alcohol sales at Art Walk? Seems to me that would take away from alcohol sales at the restaurants the Art Walk is intended to attract visitors to. I'm not particularly against it--just not sure I understand why she was "pleading" for a change to the ordinance.
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