Entertainment district for Centerville Uptown approved

CENTERVILLE — The City of Centerville’s application for an uptown entertainment district has officially been approved by the Ohio Department of Commerce.

The Entertainment District encompasses 113 acres of the city’s historic business district spanning a few blocks down Franklin Street and also a few blocks down Main Street.

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The designation will allow for 15 additional liquor permits, a release from the city said.

“This district will help us bring people back out into our shops and restaurants and put us on the path of being able to gather for community and recreation in the most recognizable part of the City,” business owner Patrick Beckel said.

Beckel opened Beckel’s Humidor, a cigar shop, in early 2021 and submitted the initial application to establish the Business District, the city said.

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The city says improvements to the Uptown infrastructure began in 2015, and approximately $20 million has gone into preserving and modernizing the streets and utilities in the area.

In 2020, the city created a “Concept Master Plan” for Uptown, which called for improvements to the existing streetscape and parking areas, investment in pedestrian walkability, creation of activated spaces and opportunities for new infill development and redevelopment of existing buildings within the district, the city said.

“City Council has never lost sight of the fact that this area is home to our City’s history and future. By making the community more inviting to new businesses, we hope to secure the long-term vitality of this area,” Mayor Brooks Compton said.

Earlier this year, Salar restaurant owner Margot Blondet announced plans to open a second location in Uptown.

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“The newly-created Uptown Entertainment District eliminates much of the frustration potential businesses have faced in finding an available liquor permit,” City Manager Wayne Davis said.

Work on the parking and streetscape enhancements will begin in 2022 and should be completed by 2028. City officials said they estimate public and private investment will exceed $30 million.