House Bill 517, or the Downtown Grocery Act, passed through Athens-area state legislation Thursday. As long as the bill isn't killed by Governor Nathan Deal, it could allow for the building of a grocery store in downtown Athens.
The bill will end the ban on alcohol sales within 300 feet of a school campus. This difference would open up the area from Broad Street to Clayton Street for grocery stores.
Although Lay-Z Shopper on Clayton Street and the Daily Groceries Co-op on Prince Avenue offer limited provisions, many have called for a supermarket accessible to the 800 people living in and around the city’s center, according to a previous article by The Red & Black. This figure includes apartment complexes populated almost exclusively by students, including the 909 Broad Street high rise and the Farmers Exchange Lofts property.
The passing of this bill could end the status of "food desert," which befalls downtown Athens at this time.