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Greenwood entertainment districts proposed

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GREENWOOD, Miss. (AP) — City leaders are looking at two different proposals for an entertainment district in downtown Greenwood.

The city council this past week heard from promoters of the two projects. The Greenwood Commonwealth reports (http://bit.ly/1iclXID ) the council took no action.

Brantley Snipes, executive director of Main Street Greenwood, said her group is proposing to provide for state tax incentives for certain new businesses that open up in the city's historic downtown district.

"This is another tool in our tool box" for revitalizing downtown, she said.

She said for businesses that establish a theater or museum, Mississippi offers a five-year accelerated depreciation on the operation's income tax.

Another tax break involves nightclubs and restaurants, which must be open to the public, seat at least 40 people, operate at least five days a week from 6 p.m. to midnight and feature live entertainment three nights a week.

Those businesses would be given an 80 percent rebate on all sales taxes for up to 10 years or until reaching 30 percent of the approved project's cost, whichever comes first.

The second proposal came from Jelani Barr, president of Mississippi Delta Cease Fire Inc., an anti-gun violence group.

Barr suggested an entertainment district similar to Memphis' Beale Street or New Orleans' Bourbon Street, where vehicle traffic is restricted.

Barr said the designated areas would have police or private security. He said traffic would be barred from certain sections of the entertainment district from 8 p.m. until 3 a.m.

There would be no closing time for bars or clubs, although under state law they could not serve alcohol after 1 a.m. After 3 a.m., persons who had been congregating outdoors would have to move inside.

The city's current closing time is 1:30 a.m.

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Information from: The Greenwood Commonwealth, http://www.gwcommonwealth.com

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