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Porterdale issues liquor license to club

PORTERDALE - The city issued its first license to sell liquor by the drink to a private club at Monday's regular meeting.

The license was granted to the Covington Elks Lodge on Crowell Road, which was annexed into the city limits on Sept. 1.

Residents in the city approved a referendum in November allowing the sale of liquor at private clubs. The measure passed with 86 votes in favor and 21 opposed. The city already allowed liquor sales at restaurants, but not at private clubs.

City Manager Tom Fox said in an earlier interview that the Elks Lodge is currently the only private club in Porterdale that would qualify to serve alcohol under the new ruling.

In other news, the City Council will hear a presentation from the firm of Richard Wittschiebe, Hand Architecture Interiors Planning of Atlanta, on the project to restore historic Porter Memorial Gymnasium at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 17 at City Hall.

Phase I of the three-phase restoration project, which is expected to cost $24,250, is under way. The first phase includes working with the community to determine how the building will be used and creating a written program of uses and producing a written assessment of the current condition of the building.

The architects recommended in November that the city conduct seismic testing to determine if the brick walls of the gym are structurally sound. That testing was expected to cost the city an additional $3,000 to $4,000.

The historic gym was gutted by fire in October 2005. The fire left the gym's exterior brick walls standing, but nothing remains of the interior. The fire was apparently deliberately set, though no one has been arrested in the arson.

The gym restoration project is expected to be funded through special purpose local option sales taxes, state grants and an insurance settlement.