Freedom Village in Bradenton granted license to sell alcoholic beverages

BRADENTON -- A license permitting the sale of beer, wine and liquor was granted to the Freedom Village retirement community on Wednesday morning by the Bradenton City Council.

Jay Barnes, president of the the 9-member resident council, said that in 2006 Freedom Village had been granted a license to sell beer and wine, but no hard liquor. Under the new permit, all three types of alcoholic beverages could be sold at the Grape Vine, a bar open to the public within Freedom Village.

Barnes told the city council on Wednesday that residents enjoyed living in the community but as they got older, they developed a preference toward alcoholic beverages. Some wanted scotch with water, others scotch on the rocks, and others a martini, he said.

The only factor missing at Freedom Village, Barnes said, is "the ability to socialize using alcoholic beverages."

On special occasions, wine and beer was offered to the residents at the dining room facilities, Barnes said.

He said many residents gather in their private apartments to have some drinks, but the apartments were not large enough to comfortably fit large crowds.

Gene Jordan, a resident at Freedom Village, told the council that residents of the community were active citizens producing large voter turnouts, holding season tickets to arts and cultural events, and contributing economically to the city.

"We believe having liquor available in our campus would be a significant advantage in attracting future residents," Jordan said.

He said the license could bring job creation and increase safety by reducing the possibility of residents drinking and driving.

The city council unanimously voted to approve the license.

"You are going to check IDs, right?" Mayor Wayne Poston told the director of dining services present at the meeting. The question drew laughter from the approximately 30 Freedom Village residents and workers attending the meeting.

In other business, the council approved a 5-year lease for the Bradenton Shuffleboard Club at 1525 Eighth Ave. Drive W.

Poston said the club had a long tradition in the city and that its membership appeared to be increasing.

"I think this is a good move," he said of the lease agreement.

Councilman Patrick Roff said a public meeting would be held at the end of the month regarding the replacement of the Ninth Avenue Bridge, part of the Cedar Hammock-Wares Creek flood control project.

The $51.8 million project is expected to reduce flooding around the Wares Creek area. The meeting was scheduled for Monday, April 30 at 6 p.m. at the Ballard Elementary School.

Miriam Valverde, Herald reporter can be reached at 941-745-7024. Follow on Twitter@MiriamValverde.