One way to save At­lanta’s nightlife scene

GA Voice - - Front Page -

When the Jun­gle an­nounced its im­mi­nent clo­sure, I was deeply sad­dened be­cause this was a sta­ple of nightlife for me. The “neu­ter­ing” of Cheshire Bridge is about more than los­ing the spa­ces that made the area cool and in­ter­est­ing; we are los­ing an eco­nomic driver that got con­sumers like me to spend money in the area. There’s some­thing both sad and ironic about this kind of gen­tri­fi­ca­tion. The very thing that made Cheshire Bridge ap­peal­ing and liv­able is re­moved to make way for more peo­ple to live there. With­out a nightlife in­dus­try, will neigh­bor­hoods lose their value and ap­peal?

At­lanta, for all our fo­cus on be­ing busi­nesses-ori­ented, does not know the econom- ic im­pact of the nightlife in­dus­try in our city. How much money do restau­rants, bars and clubs con­trib­ute to our lo­cal econ­omy? How many peo­ple does this in­dus­try em­ploy? How much in tax rev­enue does nightlife gen­er­ate for our city? For At­lanta, we don’t know. Other cities have re­al­ized the value of their nightlife in­dus­tries and have com­mis­sioned stud­ies to gauge their eco­nomic im­pact. San Fran­cisco stud­ied its nightlife in­dus­try in 2012 and found that their nightlife es­tab­lish­ments gen­er­ated a whop­ping $4.2 bil­lion dol­lars an­nu­ally in spend­ing. Fur­ther­more, San Fran­cisco found that nightlife es­tab­lish­ments em­ployed more than 27,000 peo­ple, gen­er­at­ing $55 mil­lion in pay­roll taxes.

If we want to see places like the Jun­gle con­tinue to thrive and not be re­placed by con­dos, we need data to show our govern­ment lead­ers why they are im­por­tant, and just how much they con­trib­ute to our lo­cal econ­omy. Bar, res­tau­rant and club own­ers need to step up and de­mand At­lanta com­mis­sion such a study, be­cause then we can cre­ate bet­ter poli­cies for this in­dus­try.

Fur­ther­more, a study on At­lanta could and should get gran­u­lar enough to show the dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories of nightlife in­dus­try — queer-themed, adult en­ter­tain­ment, up­scale, etc. — so we know the im­pact and needs of th­ese dif­fer­ent ar­eas.

At­lanta used to be known as a party city. Our nightlife — bars, strip clubs, drag shows — brought peo­ple in from around the coun­try. Places like Back­street, a 24-hour gay club, were the places of leg­end. As we’ve worked to make At­lanta a denser, nicer, more liv­able city, we’ve dis­carded what we’re good at — hav­ing fun. There’s im­mense value to main­tain­ing our nightlife, and bring­ing back our value as a des­ti­na­tion for par­ty­ing. This would add value to our con­fer­enc­ing in­dus­try—peo­ple want to get a strong drink or good lap dance when they’re in At­lanta.

Af­ter all, doesn’t ev­ery­one just want to have fun?

Oc­to­ber 13, 2017

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.