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Smyrna approves controversial brewery deal


To the disappointment of many citizens, including the community group ‘Smart Smyrna’, the Smyrna City Council approved a deal to sell city-owned downtown property – in the heart of Smyrna – to Suwanee-based StillFire Brewing.

Bordered by Atlanta Road to the east, Powder Springs Street to the north, and the Smyrna Community Center to the west, the brewery plans to build a two-story, 15,000-square-foot facility on the approximately one-acre lot.  

The council debated the proposal at length among themselves before voting, but did not allow the public to weigh in or make comments. Signs of “stop the vote” and “table the vote” could be seen around the room. Many had expressed opinions prior to the vote that a place that sells alcohol isn’t right for the area, including Councilman Welch. “This is just my own personal opinion, but I don’t believe that a brewery is a place for family gatherings,” Welch said. In a 5 – 2 vote, the measure passed. Council members Charles “Corkey” Welch and Susan Wilkinson voted against approving the deal. Promising that it would bring a much-needed shot in the arm to downtown Smyrna. Mayor Derek Norton championed the deal for the brewery.

Other developments in that immediate area include a recently approved proposal to redevelop the roundabout near the community center and Smyrna Public Library into new greenspace. The city also plans to build a new parking deck within walking distance of these amenities, just north of downtown. A city park will be placed on the remaining half-acre parcel south of the brewery property and north of Village Green Circle and funded with revenue from the brewery sale.

Between all of those projects, Norton said in an interview, “We’re going to create a destination here that will spill over into the other parts of the (Smyrna) Market Village, and I’m hoping it will be a wild success.”

The original plan for the brewery underwent changes and was scaled down from three stories to two. StillFire’s Suwanee location is focused on the brewery and relies on others, such as food trucks coming into the area, to feed customers. The Smyrna City Council has received an agreement from StillFire to include a permanent food operation with the facility. 


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