‘D-5’ label can be a plus for Marietta, Harmar

The debate over whether to allow more restaurants in downtown Marietta and Harmar to purchase liquor licenses is brewing again after the owner of The Original Pizza Place applied for establishment of a Community Revitalization District.

That designation would allow a 10-block area to qualify for an extra 15 new “D-5” liquor licenses at an annual fee of $2,344 for the business owners. The establishments must have at least 75 percent of their business generated from food service.

But some Marietta Council members and restaurant owners are saying they don’t support the application, arguing that granting more liquor licenses would hurt business at the sites that already can serve liquor and devalue their business if they would choose to sell it.

That seems like an argument one would only make if they felt they, or someone close to them, would personally feel a loss.

There’s no reason to run from progress, and those on council shouldn’t be limiting newer businesses in order to protect older ones.

The provision that 75 percent of business must come from food service ensures that any new sites would be legitimate eateries. The downtown area wouldn’t suddenly become cluttered with bars or clubs.

If there were more accessibility to the liquor licenses, it would attract new business. New businesses and existing businesses with new offerings (like wine or beer) would increase the number of people downtown. The more people who are enticed to head out, the better it is for everyone.

There is enough business to go around and Marietta could really use some new restaurant options. Those who like to eat out regularly likely only have a handful of favorites in town to choose from and often decide instead to go to Parkersburg or Vienna to eat.

New offerings might also bring people from around the region into Marietta more often. That would be a win for everyone.

Success of newer businesses doesn’t mean the death of old favorites.

And if those places that already serve alcohol would see a drop off in customers, then that’s a sign that they need to step up their game and offer something new or different. Competition is an important part of the business world.

We think putting in place the Community Revitalization District will be healthy for business and that it should have the support of council.