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The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

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City Council Hears Potential PODA Changes

The+Huntington+City+Council+building
Courtesy of Clio
The Huntington City Council building

Huntington City Council heard the first reading of an ordinance on April 8 that would expand the days and times when Huntington’s Private Outdoor Designated Areas ordinance is in effect.

Holly Smith-Mount, city council vice-chair, explained the changes.

“So, basically the PODA, which we already have in place, it’s the same area that we implemented last year plus. Then we expanded it to Heritage Station,” Smith-Mount said. “Same area, what we’re doing is we’re just making it seven days a week with the hours according to day. So, instead of just being a Thursday, Friday, Saturday thing, it’ll be a Sunday through Sunday.”

The PODA, which allows of age visitors downtown to carry to-go alcoholic beverages in the designated area, is currently in effect Thursdays and Fridays from 5 to 11 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

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“We want to draw people out. We want them—especially as the weather gets nice—to come down and enjoy everything downtown has to offer and, if they are of age, a beverage of their choice,” Smith-Mount said.

Smith-Mount said college students can play an important role in supporting local business as a result of this potential expansion.

“Imagine, if you will, a Thursday football game, and students come downtown a little early and they grab a beer at Summit, and then they wander down to Old Main Emporium and they grab some game gear, and then they head on back to the stadium,” Smith-Mount said. “We just want it to be an all-day event that brings as much business to our local shops as we can.”

Council leaders also encouraged students to check and update their voter registration status ahead of the May 14 primary.

“Register to vote. If you’re not registered here, find out where you’re registered to vote. Do absentee for your home state. I know these are college kids that might not have residency here,” Smith-Mount said. “Vote, vote, vote. There are enough young folks out there that they could very easily dictate certain elections.”

She said certain municipal elections are close enough that one vote makes a substantial difference.

“If they think that one vote doesn’t matter, city council races come within 50 votes,” Smith-Mount said.

Sarah Walling, city council chair, said in order for Huntington to be a truly welcoming town, eligible voters should show up to the polls.

“We want Huntington to be everyone’s town, and we want everyone to feel welcome here,” Walling said. “There needs to be room at the table for other people and other viewpoints and other ideas, and the only way that those seats are going to open up is if people vote.”

Walling said voters need to be informed when casting a ballot, instead of solely going off of name recognition.

“If they don’t just look at the name, if they research the candidate, if they listen to what they say, if they look at who they see around town doing the good that our community needs to see, then I think that’s how those seats become available,” Walling said.

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