It appears that Happy Valley, as Collegedale, Tennessee is known by locals, just got happier. For some.
Chattanooga's News Channel 9 reports that Collegedale City Commissioners approved a measure this week that will allow the sale of beer by the drink in Collegedale. The measure is aimed at increasing much-needed revenue for the town that is home to Southern Adventist University.
- [S]ome worry that way of life may be in jeopardy now that the city council has approved beer by the drink. Starting next month restaurants can serve beer but not liquor. City leaders say they need the sales taxes to pay police officers and other workers. And they already believe several developers have restaurant plans in the works, which means more revenue. It's sort of a glass half-full, glass half-empty outlook.
It will remain to be seen whether the legalization of alcohol sales in Collegedale's city limits will make a significant impact on overall revenues. A large portion of Collegedale's population is the SAU student body.
Tennessee state law prohibits anyone under the age of 21 from purchasing, transporting, or possessing alcohol, which prevents a large portion of SAU students from obtaining drinks.
Alcohol is strictly forbidden on Southern's campus. Page 3 of the most recent SAU handbook lists students' commitments, including a commitment to "avoid alcohol, tobacco, improper drug use, and sex outside of marriage."
Under "Policies and Procedures", page 51 of the manual states,
- An alcohol- and drug-free lifestyle is fundamental to Southern's safe and healthful university environment...By enrolling at Southern, all students agree to submit to drug testing. The vice president for student services and residence hall dean may require chemical screening when evidence or a reasonable suspicion of alcohol or drug use exists."
In addition to Southern's large underage population, Seventh-day Adventists feature prominently in Collegedale and neighboring Apison, Ooltewah and Soddy Daisy. There are at least ten Adventist congregations in and around Collegedale. This may prove troublesome for beer vendors as Adventists have traditionally been noted as strict teetotalers.
The designation of a county as "dry" (meaning that alcohol sales are prohibited within the county) is a source of pride for many Tennesseans. Tennessee's liquor laws are among the most restrictive in the country, and the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission provides would be vendors with numerous hurdles before obtaining liquor licenses.
If those obstacles were not enough, voters will have the chance to weigh in on beer-by-the-drink next year. Collegedale voters shot down a similar measure four years ago.
Despite the challenges that make selling beer in Collegedale seem improbable and impractical, the sluggish economy and a need for revenue might outweigh other concerns and provide the tipping point (no pun intended).
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/1833