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BMA makes move to allow alcohol in outdoor areas of restaurants

At the May 10 Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting, the Town approved a policy on its first reading addressing outdoor seating areas, and allowing beer and wine consumption in those areas.
The policy would allow the BMA to determine which businesses can have outdoor seating areas on a case-by-case basis, depending on safety, space and pedestrian accessibility.
BMA members also agreed that serving alcohol at the outdoor seating areas could prove helpful in attracting both tourist and locals to dine. Right now, the ordinance reads that the restaurants would be licensed to serve whatever its permit is for – beer, wine or liquor by the drink – but officials said the policy would most likely be changed before it is finalized to allow only beer and wine to be served at the outdoor seating areas.
Town officials also discussed a future crosswalk to be constructed across 11-E. Talks of the crosswalks are in the very early stages.
Boone and Main streets intersection is not being considered since “it’s not a safe intersection to cross” and the Town said it did not want to encourage people to cross at that intersection, said Town Administrator Bob Browning.
The Town is looking at two locations where it wants to take a crosswalk over 11-E, one above Hardee’s and one near Jonesborough Elementary. The cost would be between $400,000 and $500,000 for each.
The Town got an update on its financial situation from Town Recorder Abbey Miller.
“Financially, we’re where we need to be, but we need to be very vigilant of our spending through the summer,” Miller said. “Our revenues really slow down then.”
In other financial news, Mayor Kelly Wolfe pointed out that the Jonesborough Repertory Theatre lost a little over $1,000 on its production of Alice in Wonderland, according to financial documents.
Wolfe addressed the deficit and said the theatre’s budget needed to be scrutinized more closely, since sponsorship has declined with the recession.
Browning clarified the deficit may be because the theatre had only charged $5 for tickets since it was a children’s production, and had recently voted to up that amount to $10, as with all other productions.
Alderman Mary Gearhart also questioned the payment of $15,000 to Destination Development International in April.
Wolfe explained the money was to have the company develop a packet that was sent to the state legislature which contained a financial feasibility study on the Jonesborough Courthouse Square Revitalization Bill. He also said the money would be spent in anticipation of the $475,000 annually that Jonesborough would get if the bill is approved.
“It seems like an extravagant amount of money to me,” Gearhart said.
Browning said in terms of what is normally paid it was saving the Town money, and the normal cost was $30,000 to $40,000 for the firm’s work.
“It just seems we already paid them to do this,” Gearhart said.