The Newnan Times-Herald

Opinion

What time should Newnan close?


  • By The Newnan Times-Herald
  • |
  • Sep. 13, 2018 - 7:13 AM

As downtown Newnan continues to thrive as a hub for events, city leaders are hoping to keep that momentum going through the creation of an arts and entertainment district. 

The idea is to streamline the process for applicants seeking to host an event involving city property or public right-of-way without appearing in front of the city council for approval. 

Last year, a total of 47 events required approval by the council. With a designated arts and entertainment district, applicants could simply present their plan to city staff for approval. 

The city hasn’t set a specific geographic boundary for the district, but it seems to be centered in the general downtown area. 

The idea is to keep it simple – events beget more events. 

During the recent meeting for the arts and entertainment district, participants expressed their opinions on what the future of entertainment in downtown Newnan should look like. 

While Newnan has a confident grasp on shopping and dining opportunities, there is a rising demand for special events.

Citing events like Market Day, Oktoberfest and the Labor Day Arts and Crafts Fair, residents seem to be happy with the quality of events being held downtown so far. 

Ideas including food trucks, more local concerts and evening activities such as a local version of Peachtree City’s popular Night Market were all suggested. 

However, the consensus was that the city should take a slow approach  – citing a “crawl before we walk” approach to ensure Newnan remains a family-friendly environment for any event.

So while there’s a clear desire for more arts and entertainment downtown, the noise issue – the elephant in the room – eventually will have to addressed.

For most people who live in the heart of a city with a population pushing 40,000, a thriving nightlife is something to be expected and even fostered. However, it seems any plans for night events are currently hamstrung by one resident.

Dr. Michael Rayburn lives across the street from the RPM Bar & Grill on Jackson Street and has made no bones about his demands about keeping the noise down after 10 p.m. 

Keep in mind, Rayburn lives on a federal highway, U.S. Highway 29 – one block removed from the heart of downtown Newnan. So if peace and quiet is imperative, it’s an odd location to call home. 

Across the street, RPM owner Joe Rizzo claims to be walking on eggshells and said he’s grown accustomed to nightly visits from the Newnan Police Department telling him to keep the noise level down, as he often hosts trivia and open mic nights. 

Half of his restaurant is outside, and Rizzo currently is facing his second citation for violating the noise ordinance. He is set to appear in court to contest the latest charge. 

It seems that the majority of Newnan aims to keep growing in a direction removed from the days when the city rolled up its sidewalks at sundown. 

Residents aren’t looking to create the next Austin, Texas. They want a controlled pattern of growth that fosters good events – including those that go past 10 p.m.

We can only hope a reasonable solution is found, ensuring Newnan can become the city its residents want it to be. 

What are your thoughts? Do you want to see the city explore new possibilities for nighttime events, or should downtown remain quiet after 10 p.m.? Drop us a line and let us know at: news@newnan.com .