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Council Contributes $1000
True Citizen Staff Writer
the Bicycle Ride Across Georgia (BRAG) just over a week away from arriving
in Burke County, the Waynesboro City Council voted to support the event with
a $1,000 donation, as well as granting a temporary license for the sale of
alcohol at a BRAG event.
Ashley Long, executive director for the Burke County Chamber of Commerce, was present at Monday’s regular council meeting to ask the city for $1,000 to help defer costs associated with BRAG coming to Waynesboro next week, June 15-17. As many as 1,700 riders are expected to visit Burke County for the two days during the week-long ride across Georgia.
Long explained that the Chamber was estimating around $5,000 in expenses for the event. The Chamber had committed $3,000, but Long was requesting $1,000 from both the city of Waynesboro and the Burke County Commission for the remainder of the necessary funds.
Long told the council the money would be used to provide riders with a small gift as well as a brochure and map, detailing points of interest in Waynesboro. Long hopes this will encourage participants to come into Waynesboro to eat and shop.
While the majority of riders are expected to “camp” at Burke County High School, all three of Waynesboro’s hotels are booked completely, as well as the Steadman House Bed and Breakfast. Some area residents have even opened their homes for the night, and other riders will be shuttled to hotels in Millen.
The Chamber will host a downtown Street Party from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, June 16, on Liberty Street between Sixth and Seventh streets with a band and food vendors. This event is free to both BRAG riders and the general public.
Council member Curtis Bell suggested that instead of seeking the money from the city, Long should ask for contributions from the area businesses that stand to profit from BRAG’s arrival, particularly the hotels and restaurants.
“ They’re going to profit pretty well from this,” Bell said.
Long agreed, but pointed out she felt this was not just an opportunity for some businesses to make money but a chance to showcase Waynesboro and Burke County overall and what they have to offer. BRAG riders are typically middle to upper-class professionals, and Long feels there is the chance to impress potential business owners or simple tourists who might return to Waynesboro later.
Neal Leonard made a motion to grant the request for $1,000, citing it should come from the cities hotel/motel tax funds. Vice-mayor Pauline Jenkins seconded that motion, which passed 4-1. Bell voted against the motion and Bill Tinley was absent from the meeting.
The city also granted a temporary license for the sale of beer to the Waynesboro Jaycees, who will have a booth set up during the BRAG street party. The Jaycees also requested that the city’s open container law be suspended on Liberty Street between Sixth and Seventh streets. That request was granted as well but applies solely to the Jaycees; persons entering the street party will not be allowed to carry in alcohol, nor can any area restaurants sell beer for consumption outside their premises. The Jaycees and the Waynesboro Police Department will be on the lookout for people attempting to bring in their own alcohol.
Waynesboro’s new alcohol ordinance allows for the city to grant temporary permits for the sale of alcohol to established non-profits, which the Waynesboro Jaycees are. Waynesboro Jaycees’ president, Travis Jenkins, told council members the funds raised from the sales would be used to pay for the annual Jaycees Fireworks display on July 4th.
Pauline Jenkins made a motion to grant the temporary permit, contingent on the Jaycees receiving their state permit from the Georgia Department of Revenue. That motion passed 3-2, with Bell and Dick Byne voting against the measure.
(Read Rest of Story in The True Citizen.)
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