Aldermen wary of sport bar – Planning Commission decision appealed

Published 10:17 pm Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Batesville aldermen have agreed to consider the application for a sports bar on the Square, following a 4-3 rejection of the proposed business by the city’s Planning Commission last month.

Terri Clayton Harris spoke to the full board of aldermen last Tuesday, hoping they would reverse the Planning Commission’s decision. Harris left the meeting with a sliver of hope when board members took the matter under advisement.

“I can appreciate what you are trying to do and I’m all for you, but I don’t think the downtown area is the right location,” alderman Stan Harrison said. “You have two of the largest churches in Panola County next door and people have complained about broken bottles and things like that when we’ve had those businesses before.”

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Harris told aldermen she understood why the last bar was forced to close, but that her vision for a family restaurant should not be judged by previous businesses on the Square.

“I’m trying to mimic Buffalo Wild Wings, a fun family environment where you can come and bring the kids to watch games,” Clayton said. “It will be a restaurant that has a full bar, not a bar that serves food. The Square needs food and beverage and right now there isn’t anything there. I’m not trying to create a bar atmosphere.”

Several taverns and bars have operated at the location at 126 Public Square over the years.

“This board is trying to create an environment on the Square that doesn’t include a bar,” Harrison said. “There are buildings all over town that would be good for what you are looking to do.”

Following the meeting, Clayton said she will continue to communicate with the aldermen, and look for options that will allow her to open, even on a trial basis.

“I just need them to give me a chance to open and show them what we are trying to create for downtown in Batesville,” she said. “I think if they can see what we want to do then they will be more accepting.”

By agreeing to take the matter under advisement instead of outright rejecting the proposal, the aldermen have left open an avenue for future discussion.