Arts District Shrinks 

City Councilman says new ordinance would scale back 65-block arts district.

In what seems an about-face, city officials will strike a proposal to designation of 65 downtown city blocks as an arts district, City Councilman Charles Samuels says.

At his monthly 2nd District meeting Wednesday, Samuels announced that during a meeting with Mayor Dwight Jones and members of his staff earlier in the week, he was informed that the proposed ordinance is being replaced. The new draft will see the proposed district shrink, Samuels says.

Unveiled last February, original ordinance has sat in legislative limbo since being introduced to the City Council. Its critics, many of whom are members of local arts community, have long complained that the district envisioned by the city’s original proposal is too large.

The original ordinance has also faced opposition for lacking the financial incentives critics say will benefit existing art galleries and other arts-related businesses along West Broad Street.

Samuels says he’s working on a separate draft that will “contain true financial incentives for the hardworking people and business owners on Broad Street.”

Following the meeting, Christina Newton, director of Curated Culture, the nonprofit that organizes and promotes the First Fridays Art Walks, says she is encouraged by the news.

“Having seen neither draft, it’s good to see that there is some room to for compromise,” she says.

A spokeswoman for Mayor Jones did not immediately return a call for comment.

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