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Smart Smyrna Press Release


CONTACTS: (available for interview)

Shaun Martin, Smart Smyrna @ 404-556-5282  shaunlmartin@gmail.com

Kathy Omaits, Smart Smyrna @ 810-348-8006  ko3rose@gmail.com

Jenny Bartee, Smart Smyrna @  678-438-6353  jennybartee@gmail.com                    

Smyrna, GA—The City of Smyrna Community Center and accompanying green space, an active and vital community anchor,  is in danger of being negatively impacted by the Mayor rushing a vote to install an imposing Brewery/Distillery/Manufacturer in its midst.   “We are calling on the Smyrna community to visit www.smartsmyrna.com, sign our petition, call their city council members, and attend the next City Council meeting on Tuesday, January 18th, to oppose the rushed vote to approve the sale of public land for this project.  We are also calling on the Mayor and City Council to give more time to resolve major issues and address the many concerns raised by citizens.  Many do not agree with the proposed brewery and have suggested other potential uses of the land”, said Shaun Martin, member of Smart Smyrna, www.smartsmyrna.com

She further explains: “Smart Smyrna is a grassroots citizen group brought together in July 2021, out of concern for Smyrna’s cultural nexus being negatively impacted by development being pushed through by the City’s Mayor, Derek Norton, and several of the  City Council members, without inclusive and proper input by the entire community.  Two  Council Members– Charles (Corky) Welch and Susan Wilkinson– have publicly stated that they are not in favor of the Brewery.  Notably, 35+ year former Mayor, Max Bacon, has also publicly stated he does not support this Brewery Development.”  

On its website, Smart Smyrna states that it welcomes the development and vitalization of the City of Smyrna, however  “smart development”, and emphasizes that they believe this is NOT smart development and is an economic, cultural, and environmental mistake that is placing a private business before what is best for the city and its community.

Jenny Bartee, another Smart Smyrna member, stated: “In the short time since our July start, Smart Smyrna has developed and circulated a Petition against locating the brewery in the green space adjacent to the Community Center, which has garnered over 1200 signatures.  This is well above the 700 stated by the Mayor to be in favor.  Although redevelopment plans have been in public discussion since 2019, this specific proposed development was not made public until June 3, 2021, the same day a Letter of Intent [to sell property] to Stillfire Brewery was signed. When some people voiced opposition to both the project and the manner in which it has been negotiated without community input and behind closed doors, the Mayor has said it’s a “done deal”. Smart Smyrna members and others in the community have made it known to the Mayor and City Council that that is not the case and that there is no reason to rush any decisions on the use of the green space.”

“This property sits on a deep retention pond directly in front of the Community Center.  Environmental reports have been repeatedly requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) starting in July 2021, September, and most currently December 2021 with another request being submitted on January 11, 2022.  The Mayor has said an environmental study was in progress since late summer, 2021. All responses state that no report has been completed.  There is a freshwater pond that supports fish, ducks, and other wildlife behind the Community Center which may be negatively impacted, and it is critical for the public to  be fully informed what the environmental impact will be.”

“Despite two open houses (at the Brawner House in September) and an open house at the City Hall in December 2021, many unanswered questions still exist.  For example, and this is just one when asked about the number of silos, originally 6 in an April rendering of the proposed building, vague replies of 2 or 3 silos were made.  There are many, many specific critical questions that are unanswered, including but not limited to noise, lights, traffic, pollution, and water issues.  And there are many other potential uses for this prime piece of land; why are they not being considered?”, asked Smyrna resident and member Kathy Omaits.

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