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Late hours could soon just be ‘hours’

Monday, February 26, 2018 by Chad Swiatecki

A pilot program that brought later outdoor concerts to the Red River Cultural District on weekends appears to be headed toward becoming a permanent city policy. Staff members in the Economic Development Department are careful with their words regarding progress on the program, with a memo last week from Interim Director Rebecca Giello laying out next steps ahead of its April 30 sunset. The memo spells out that department staff will compile data and conduct a stakeholder input process through the end of March, with final recommendations coming afterward. The recommendations from the Music and Entertainment Division are expected to be presented for possible approval to the Music Commission on April 2, with City Council getting a chance to consider them at a meeting proposed for April 12. A potentially alarming line in the memo – “… staff does not anticipate the need for additional extensions of the pilot period” – actually points to the program becoming permanent rather than subject to continual six-month renewals. Club owners with outdoor stages began campaigning for the program in late 2016 because early noise curfews on weekends limited their ability to generate revenue from alcohol sales during busy late-night hours. The program kicked off as a six-month trial on May 1 of last year and was given a six-month renewal in the fall.

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