House Bill 517 in the Final Day of Legislative Session

By: Julie Calhoun

House Bill 517 could possibly bring a grocery to downtown Athens. Representatives Quick, Frye, and Williamson are all in favor of this bill. It’s known as the downtown grocery act which if passed will allow local government to license the sale of beer and wine to off premise consumption. Representative Chuck Williams believes this isn’t just an alcohol issue but an economic and quality of life issue. Williams says, “Many people that live in the public housing districts don’t have access to a private vehicle and I shudder to think what it must be like to have to get on the bus and go out to a suburban grocery store and have to buy your weekly groceries and get them back to your apartment on a bus. Athens reps want this bill passed for economic growth and for the Athens residents but there are also a couple of projects in the works that want an in town grocery store. Representative Regina Quick says, “There are two new projects now that are perculating about that wants a grocery store that sells beer and wine in their model, in their business model and it would be big for downtown Athens.” It’s called sign or die and all legislation has to be passed by midnight and this bill is one that the Athens reps hopes gets passed before they adjourn today.

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