Let’s be part of the solution. I still don’t have the answer yet, but I want to pose that question to you. Some of the downtown businesses wanted to offer beer and wine and shopping privileges into their establishments and call it an entertainment district. I understand their need to attract additional business to our beautiful downtown, but I personally did not think having more alcohol available was the answer.

First of all, the smell is terrible! The professional baseball games I’ve attended were made less enjoyable by the smell and spills of alcohol all around me. I really don’t care to ever go again! I guess if hubby “needed” to see the Astros, I could take an umbrella for protection from the rows behind me and a clothes pin for my nose. 

Anyway, I really appreciate all the thought and effort that went into the proposal. I was very very proud of Ignite —  the group of high school students who had done a lot of research and interviews of cities close by with entertainment districts. A few business owners were able to speak and give their perspectives. Then some pastors spoke. The proposal suggested more restaurants and businesses would purchase property in the downtown area if the district was allowed. Of course the big question is still, “Where is Olive Garden? Where is Applebees?” to fulfill the promise made years ago when our county went wet.

So people who don’t appreciate the effects of alcohol, and see the obvious harm it does to society are happy it didn’t pass the city council’s committee.

During the hour-long discussion, it was stated that “churches are against everything.” A pastor carefully reminded the crowd that it was the churches who provided safe, contactless entertainment for kids/families on Halloween. It’s also the churches who provide big community-wide Thanksgiving dinners. It’s the people in the churches who give to so many nonprofit organizations in our community. I have never seen a community who freely shares so much of their personal wealth with others as our area.

It was also brought up that the churches didn’t ever help with downtown activities. I want to encourage everyone to consider what can be done downtown. If you have the finances, purchase the ‘hole in the wall,’ and offer an activity. Purchase a building and add upscale apartments. Volunteer your time to help paint light poles, put up Christmas lights, or add the beautiful hanging baskets in the spring. You can even become an affiliate member of the downtown association.

Let’s not just be vocal and negative about what others want to do, but let’s be part of the solution. Pray about economic development and our beautiful downtown district. What would God have you to do to make our community more attractive to guests? (You have prepared in advance for a guest —  they are invited. A visitor is someone who just shows up.)

It’s not friction between two groups, the drinkers and non drinkers. We need to be an “us” and work together to see what can be done for our community. What would build up families and businesses and not make life more difficult for others?

I also appreciate the heart and time that went into thinking of all the details to make an entertainment district a safe place. But I also know human nature and we all love to stick a toe across a line to see if we’ll be caught, or if we can push it the whole foot further. I don’t believe the walk around the square while drinking would be limited to the proper areas. And I asked the store owners if they were really going to be open until 10 p.m. each night, and the answer I got was, “I don’t really think anyone wants to shop in my store while they are drinking wine.”

So, this issue is behind us. But lots of great possibilities are open to our future. Be a part of the solution. What can you do to help our economy? What can you do to attract more people to our beautiful downtown? Support all of our local businesses. Thank them for being in Harrison.

Thank you to everyone who does their best to make this a great community. I can hardly wait to see the newest mural when it is completed. It’s all about kindness. Let’s not only be the friendliest small town, but let’s go for the kindest!

Donna has written for the HDT since 1999. When off the clock, she enjoys writing for children, teaching piano lessons and being a pastor's wife. The Braymers have three married sons and daughter-in-laws and 9 grandchildren.

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