Fort Walton Beach to Get Entertainment District

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FORT WALTON BEACH-- City Council members adopted the ordinance Tuesday night, creating an entertainment district on Brooks Street, next to Landing Park in downtown Fort Walton Beach.

They're hoping this new district will generate revenue for downtown businesses and restaurants, as well as keep residents and tourists around the downtown area.

"The only part of this that would cost the business money is if they wanted to get a vendor permit, to be able to set up outside during events or during weekends, or just things going on at the park,” said Michael Beedie, City Manager of Fort Walton Beach.

Many business owners say they think the entertainment district will be a great addition to downtown.

"They'll have more to do, more time to spend visiting the different venues and I think it is going to be a great asset,” stated Valerie Wenzel, President of the Fort Walton Beach Merchant Association.

Some people are concerned about allowing open containers of alcohol in the area.

But city officials are assuring them they will have extra officers on duty.

The next step for city officials is to work on parking, permits for vendors and noise control.

They are hoping to have plans for all three things by the time the district opens May 1st.

The entertainment district will be open Thursday evenings from 4 pm to 11 pm, Fridays and Saturdays from 4 pm until 2 am, and Sunday noon to 7 pm.