State approves entertainment district in Lebanon to boost downtown

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Jul. 22—The Ohio Division of Liquor Control has accepted and approved Lebanon's application to establish a community entertainment district for its downtown area and recently expanded outdoor drinking area.

The entertainment district is part of Lebanon's continued effort to support new investment within downtown and the surrounding community, city officials said.

Downtown Lebanon has a thriving business district that encompasses a collection of restaurants, retail, entertainment, educational, arts, sporting, social and cultural establishments. The entertainment district will allow 15 additional liquor permits for new restaurants within the district.

Other cities and areas such as Monroe, Austin Landing, Huber Heights and The Greene have created these districts in recent years.

The nearly 95 acre Downtown Lebanon entertainment district includes the North Broadway corridor that encompasses new developments, including the 511 North Broadway mixed­ use development under construction.

The CED will allow Lebanon to offer restaurant-driven liquor permits at a low fixed price to entrepreneurs in lieu of the prospective restaurant being placed on a waitlist or shopping the open market for a permit, city officials said.

Lebanon City Council discussed the application in April before it was submitted to the state. At that time, Jason Millard, city economic development director, said it is "a tool to help facilitate new restaurants and other similar establishments as part of larger scale development and redevelopment areas."

He said the city has identified $50.8 million in planned investment, including 17 projects over the next 10 years inside the boundaries.

"This will help bring in new quality restaurants," Mayor Amy Brewer said during that discussion. "We need to take advantage as development is occurring."

Council members also expanded the outside drinking area boundaries to match the entertainment district boundaries.

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