Marcus Gold’s concept is simple. Sam Houston State University students should not flock to A&M and the Woodlands for the nightlife. The Texas party scene should lock eyes on Huntsville. In a vision shared by many in the community, Gold hopes that 12th street in the downtown district could entail a scene much like Austin’s 6th street.
“A majority of the people that I’ve sat down and talked with, from the Chamber of Commerce, the City Council and other leaders of the community, are all for the idea of an entertainment draw in the downtown district,” explained Gold.
“We could have what 6th street has. We could have what College Station has.”
Gold is one of many prospective bar owners who hopes to lease new venues in the heart of Huntsville. A 1999 SHSU graduate and alumni, Gold added that many former students are returning to Huntsville with dreams of a new innovative nightlife.
According to Gold, Huntsville’s historic downtown square is apt for a creative social setting that would rejuvenate the area’s buildings. City planners agreed that the idea is feasible. Many facilities meet the requirements of TABC properties and are at least 300 feet away from the nearby Methodist Church. Downtown is conveniently located only four blocks from the university’s campus: an equivalent distance from the Wal-Mart parking lot to the back of the store. The centralized location could be easily policed by Huntsville officials and create a safer setting for students and the community.
In as little as one to two years, the former SHSU student foresees a significant change in what downtown could offer students. Emptied buildings in the square already contain courtyards, stages, bars and distinctive features that may change the way Huntsville spends its after hours.
The Stardust Room, also located in the downtown district, sets the tone for what could be in the near future. The bar sports a more casual and classy environment: several couches in a dim-lit setting with a courtyard behind the bar. Gold uses the Stardust as an example of what he hopes to achieve: an area where students and townspeople alike can intermingle and have a good time.
“I am grateful for Ben and Sandra Bell for having the courage to open The Stardust Room,” said Gold. “They’ve helped pave the way for others like myself.”
Gold too is counting down the steps to open his own bar, suitably titled “Gold Bar.” His vision, although not finalized, is a direct effect of The Stardust Room’s ever-growing popularity among the city and college kids. The expanding music base in Huntsville, according to Gold, is far greater than what he had in 1999. Advantages like these can help create a whole new form of entertainment in Huntsville.
“I think that Huntsville’s in dire need of an eclectic live venue, not just country every night,” said Gold. “I know that there’s a lot of country friends but there are a lot of hip hop fans and etc.”
Throughout the mall area next to the LSC, more and more shirts are paraded with Marcus Gold’s face. He considers it a means of advertising: one of many ways he used to advertise in Houston, Austin, Las Vegas and Cozumel, to name a few. By next Thursday, his new Web site, http://www.marcusgold.com, will be up and running for students interested in different parties and entertainment around town. Photos from the SHSU events will be posted on the Web site along with ways to exchange ideas and schedule other parties.
While Gold’s goal is to possibly open the doors to a new entertainment option by next September, he cannot express how important it is for students to vote for the things they need. During 2003-2004, 3,500 voters participated in the election out of Huntsville’s entire populace of around 36,000. The students at SHSU make up around one third of Huntsville’s population and can generate a very powerful voice.
“All it takes is five minutes to register right down the street in this county and vote for voices congruent with your ideology,” said Gold. “By doing this you can change where a lot of the money is being spent.”
A formidable portion of the community, whether it is city leaders or returning students, agree that Huntsville could be thrust down an entirely new path within three years. Stand-up comedy, a barrage of unique music and a safe way to socialize in the Huntsville Square could make students think twice about heading home.