Young professionals joining BACE, hoping to impact local policies

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Some young, creative professionals are working to support change in the city of Charleston.

BACE, which stands for Business, Art, Culture and Entertainment, is a group that started because of the late night bar ban. However, since BACE was created in May of 2014, it's focus has grown much bigger than that.

The nonprofit, non-partisan coalition is bringing together people from the art, music and food and beverage scene.

"There was a lack of involvement kind of among this community," said Elliot Smith, local attorney, musician and BACE spokesman.McKenzie Eddy, owner King Dusko, a cafe and creative space, said BACE helped giver her a voice when she started to worry that certain city ordinances may impact her business negatively.

"I think a lot of fear was created unnecessarily," said Eddy. "People really want to be involved they just don't really know how to be."

The catalyst to creating BACE was the late night moratorium proposal. Now, the moratorium is in place until September and bans some new businesses in the downtown area from serving alcohol past midnight.

However, the concerns of BACE have expanded far beyond the midnight moratorium.

"To get young, creative professionals involved in politically - I think that's what it all comes down to," said Smith.

The entrepreneurs joining BACE look at the coalition as an opportunity for them to have a hand in keeping the culture of Charleston alive.

"I do see a bit of disconnect between city policy and city officials understanding of culture here," said Smith.

Ryan Workman is the Chief Operating Officer of Bay Street Beirgarten, a business that's been open for less than two years.

Workman said BACE has been a great resource for him to network and get feedback from other growing businesses.

"You get a lot of people that are smart, energetic and ready to do things in Charleston," said Ryan Workman. "We are a small business type of town, that's what's really neat about Charleston."

Smith, who called the Charleston culture "vibrant and diverse," said BACE wants to see local policies reflect and compliment the evolution of this city's brand.

When city council passed the one-year bar ban, they also created a group to review those policies. The Late Night Activity Review Committee will give recommendations to council when the year is up.

Smith is a representative on that board.

The City of Charleston and the Late Night Activity Review Committee are hosting three public meetings next week on the temporary bar ban. BACE is working to get the world out to their supporters and hope for a big turn out and healthy discussion.

If you want to go, it's at the Charleston County Library on Calhoun Street. You'll find all the meeting details


Learn more about BACE here.

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