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D-51 licenses still available

MARIETTA – After two years since the push for the availability of more liquor licenses brought about the revitalization district in downtown Marietta, 14 of 15 licenses remain available.

Marietta City Council in November 2013 designated a 22-acre revitalization district in downtown and parts of the West Side.

The designation allows for restaurants looking to increase their patron traffic through the addition of alcohol a chance to join the ranks of the 13 establishments currently operating with liquor licenses in downtown Marietta. However, only the Original Pizza Place of Marietta took advantage of the designation when the ordinance passed.

Kevin Black, owner of Blacksmith Barbecue at 106 Greene St., said that obtaining the D-5l license would be beneficial to his business, but not currently practical.

“My concern is if I get a license for the patio, how do I monitor my patrons when they step outside my gates,” said Black. “Then it’s an issue of having an open container on city grounds.”

Black’s restaurant operates within an only partially enclosed concrete patio and as such would be difficult to monitor when patrons step off the premises with a drink in hand. He said another challenge standing in the way of applying for the license is the lack of public restrooms along the riverbank.

“With alcohol comes the greater need for a restroom that I don’t have, then I’m stuck sending them to the Lafayette and I can’t in good conscience justify that,” said Black.

Despite his hesitation, Black said he supports the installation of the district and thinks that the city needs private investment in new downtown restaurants in order to see the growth hoped for when the ordinance passed.

The revitalization district is bounded by Scammel Street to Ohio Street, all land from Front Street to the alley between Third and Fourth streets, properties between Post Street and Front Street and the Putnam Street Bridge and the Harmar Railroad Bridge. In the West Side, the district includes land and properties between Putnam Avenue and Maple Street from Franklin Street to the river at Fort Street, from Crawford Street to Gilman Avenue excluding Harmar Elementary, down Gilman Avenue to Boathouse BBQ along the Ohio River.

Hunt Brawley, development director for the Peoples Bank Theatre on Putnam Street, said growth should come at least along Putnam after the theater opens its doors in December.

“Maybe people need to see it here first,” said Brawley of the projected commerce from bringing more entertainment to town. “Is somebody just waiting for this to happen before they take the plunge, I don’t know but hopefully that’s the case.”

Brawley said the theater will not be applying for a D-5l license because the business falls under different requirements by state law but he said he hopes that with the theater opening, other entrepreneurs will be inspired to open restaurants along Putnam Street.

“This block has always been the most vacant block in Marietta but if a few restaurants and a bar or two were to open on Putnam, it would create an even greater and more attractive link between the college and downtown,” said Brawley.

A draw is needed to bring young professionals to the community, municipal Development Director Andy Coleman said.

“Marietta needs to go with the younger generation to voice wants in the community; if we’re to keep the mindset of growth we need the places that will keep them here,” said Coleman.

The generation he referred to are those between 21 and 38 years old who “would encourage growth and bring more life back into this town.”

Some ideas Coleman had for businesses needed in the district include a wine bar and less college-geared establishments.

Businesses looking for more information on the application process for a D-5l license may contact Coleman at 740-373-9354 or by email at AndyColeman@mariettaoh.net or the Ohio Department of Commerce Division of Liquor Control website at com.ohio.gov.