Patrons of the Athena Cinema in Uptown Athens may soon be able to have an alcoholic beverage while watching a movie.
Ohio University, doing business as the cinema, applied to have three alcohol permits through TREX, City Council President Chris Knisely said during the correspondence part of the Athens City Council meeting Monday.
TREX, Economic Development Transfer, is an Ohio Department of Commerce program that helps areas of the state with an over-issuance of permits by transferring them to another area of the state that mets certain criteria.
In the case of the Athena Cinema, three permits have been applied for. If approved, they will be moved from Tranquil Lady in Whitehall to Athena Cinema.
They have applied for permits that will allow the movie theater to sell beer, wine, mixed beverages and spirituous liquor on the premise until 1 a.m. The permits also allow beer, wine and mixed beverages to be sold in original sealed containers for carryout only until 1 a.m.
Anyone who has questions or concerns about the permits must contact the Ohio Department of Commerce by Aug. 15.
In other matters, City Hall may be getting a facelift in time of its 150th year of serving the citizens of this southeast Ohio community.
City administration discussed plans to do a four-phase project on the building on East Washington Street.
The first phase will be updating the first-floor conference rooms, said Councilmember Sam Crowl, who is chair of finance and personnel committee.
“There will be some proposed reorganizing of staff offices on the first floor that we have, along those conference rooms, which we’ll get into a little bit later in the in the meeting today,” he said. “Phase two is to bring Hebe from the water treatment plant back up to Athens City Hall and there’s lots of interesting stories about how she ended up down there and some of the stories around, I’m not sure if everyone even knows that it’s a beautiful statute is down in the water phase to bring her back up here.
“Phase three would actually be to put our bell back into the bell tower, the building, and have it be a thing bell in phase four would be some of some masonry repairs to the exterior of the brick,” Crowl said.
The conference room will not be made bigger, Mayor Steve Patterson said.
“The footprint will stay the same right now. It has like six or eight tables that are really wide to begin with, so it eats up a lot of space,” he said of the current configuration. “So we’ll get a properly sized conference room table.”
The second conference room will be located near the other one, while first-floor offices will be reconfigured so employees in particular departments work in the same part of the building, Patterson said.
The statue of Hebe, Greek goddess of eternal youth, has been inside of the Athens City Water Department for approximately 48 years, to protect it from vandalism.
Dedicated in 1885, the statue was ordered from France, along with the Lady Justice statue that sits atop the Athens County Courthouse.
In the past, the Hebe statue was repeatedly vandalized before being moved to its currently location.
“I’ve had a lot of the public reach out to me and say, ‘It should be nice to see Hebe,’” Patterson said. “These are people who remembered eating at the water fountain that was in front of the county courthouse, that’s where she arrived originally stood for many years.”
The bell tower improvements are going to be a significant project, Patterson said. The bell was cast in 1979, two years before the building was dedicated.
“What we would like to do is return the bell to the bell tower,” he said. “We would also like to return arms on the four-face clock and put digital mechanisms inside there so we have a functional clock, like was the case until 15 years ago.”
They also will do some structural integrity work on the roof that will ensure sure the structure will be able to support the bell’s weight, Patterson said.
The four projects have a total estimated cost of $300,000. The city administration is requesting $75,000, which will cover design work for all four phases and cover the cost of phase one. The estimated cost of the conference room renovations is somewhere between $45,000 and $50,000.