A look at downtown Shelby as shown in a photo on June 17.

As part of recent discussions on the proposed leasing of a city alley to Weber's Bar, City Council's Utilities and Streets Committee Chairman Nathan Martin requested that a closer look be given to another idea.

"Can we start framing out what, or at least researching, what an entertainment district would look like for our downtown?" Councilman Martin said in a June 11 verbal request to Jessica Gribben -- economic development liaison to Shelby.

"I really think it's about time, especially when we look at Bicycle Days, when we look at the park renovations we are doing downtown, the ability to hold different festivals, not just Bicycle Days, concerts, etc," Martin said at the committee meeting.

"I think we need to start looking at the benefits of having an entertainment district to where we would allow open container between these businesses to have further economic development," Martin stated.

"It doesn't make much sense to me to do all of the aesthetic cleaning up that we are doing in our downtown if it's not functional to be a profitable venture for all of those involved," Martin said.

He added that it would be a continuing conversation.

"I am sure there's other cities that have done similar stuff to this," Martin said later. "I'm thinking The Brickyard (outdoor entertainment venue) down in the Mansfield area. I just think it's long overdue, and it can really help us take advantage of the developments we're doing downtown."

Earlier in the June 11 committee meeting, committee members had heard a presentation by Weber’s Bar owner Lance Gutchall. He expressed interest in leasing the city-owned alley adjacent to his downtown business.

Besides being interested in leasing the alley, Gutchall expressed a vision for enhancing downtown.

"I am here to support this city and make this a better downtown," he said, adding that "maybe if we can get some downtown living, that would help downtown thrive, as well."

Gutchall discussed the importance of the alley that would be used as an outdoor area to serve alcohol beverages.

"I really think this can increase my total business 30 percent for the year even though it's only six months out of the year I'd use it," he said.

"I do own another storefront. I know we don't want empty storefronts," Gutchall said, adding that the Hancock building could become part of Weber's, as well.

"That's one less storefront," he said.

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