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Donalsonville leaders consider changing rules surrounding alcohol sales

Potential changes would only apply to select portions of the downtown area
Posted at 6:22 PM, Jun 05, 2024
  • Leaders in Donalsonville are considering changing rules regarding alcohol sales in the neighborhood.
  • The downtown area is the only section of the city that potential change would apply.
  • Watch the video above to see what kind of impact this could have on the community.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

City leaders here in the Donalsonville neighborhood are ready to listen to neighbors when it comes to relaxing one of the rules when it comes to alcohol sales.

The downtown area is the only section of the city that potential change would apply.

"My father bought it I believe in 1990,” said Jaimee Underwood, project director, The Osceola Event Co.

Underwood is talking about when her father purchased a building that served the Donalsonville community as a hotel back in the early 1900's.

"Unfortunately before he could get the liquor law passed or anything done with the building he passed in [2002],” said Underwood.

Underwood is working to revive what was once known as the Osceola Hotel by re-opening the building as an event space and hotel.

But the existing alcohol ordinances require businesses to produce at least 50 percent of their total annual gross sales from food purchases.

Yet, Underwood says offering a menu simply isn't on the table.

"We don't provide food.. We can give recommendations for caterers but we don't provide that,” said Underwood.

Other new and existing business owners have asked that the city relax this rule.

City manager, Jeffery Hatcher said if this is amended other regulations may follow.

"If we're going to waive that then maybe we need to restrict the number of hours.. Instead of staying open until 2 a.m. maybe we want to stop it at midnight,” according to Hatcher.

Potential changes would only apply to select portions of the downtown area based on several factors which include a business being located in the off-premise consumption district and being at least 100 yards from a church.

Hatcher said the mapped off section is also based on safety.

"It's close to our police department.. That's also located downtown,” said Hatcher.

City leaders and neighbors noted this change could boost the economy.

"Post COVID people are just wanting to gather. I think that it will have a positive impact on the downtown economy,” said Donalsonville Downtown director, Tori Gravlee.

As for Underwood, she said despite the business not yet being open people in the community have already stepped up to be a part of the latest addition to the city by donating antique furniture and booking the event space.

"People liked being a part of something coming back to life,” said Underwood.

Possible changes to the alcohol ordinance will continue to be discussed during the next city council meeting July 2.

A decision is expected to be reached by August.