The Tallahassee Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) voted 3-2 on Monday to reject a request from Proof Brewing Company.
Proof has asked for a $450,000 grant to assist with renovations at its new location on South Monroe Street. The company recently purchased the old Coca Cola bottling plant in an effort to expand its business.
The funds would cover interior renovations, including large windows along Adams Street and expansion of its planned beer garden. In total, the cost of construction will be more than $6 million.
City Commissioner Scott Maddox voted against the proposal because he’d rather see funds go toward infrastructure projects.
“I’m not in favor of any CRA dollars unless it goes to the infrastructure or exterior renovations, so the entire community can benefit from it,” he said.
Several residents spoke out against the proposal and how it could affect the city’s south side.
“These are taxpayer dollars. We have companies like mine and others in this community that pay the taxes, but this commission is deciding who is going to appoint as winners and losers. We just can’t have government money picking what company will be successful and which ones won’t,” said Tallahassee resident Erwin Jackson.
“We should not be giving public dollars to private entities that is a well-established business. They have the credit and resources to be able to get funding from other agencies,” said Tallahassee City Commission candidate Henry Adelusi.
“I am a health care advocate for many years. When I think of brewery I think of alcohol and distribution and things of that sort,” said Frenchtown resident Maisha Mitchell.
Proof is currently based in Railroad Square Art Park. Founder Byron Burroughs said the company will move forward as planned
“Although we are disappointed with the CRA board’s decision, Proof Brewing Co. will continue moving forward with renovation of 1320 South Monroe, will continue creating jobs, giving back to the community, and expanding our production and distribution footprint,” Burroughs told WTXL-TV.