By Tia Lynn Ivey
The much-anticipated opening of the Canaan Store located on the corner or Burney and Fifth streets, is causing controversy after the owners, Henry and Rita Harris and Marilyn Williams, expressed a desire to sell alcohol out of their new shop.
The City of Madison is setting up a Town Hall meeting sometime late in July to give the owners a chance to make their case, as well as people in the local neighborhood to oppose it.
City Planner Monica Callahan filled in the Madison Mayor and City Council on the situation at Monday night’s meeting.
“The neighborhood wanted a tenant who would not sell beer and wine and the Downtown Development Authority wants to make sure they honor the promise they made to the neighborhood,” said Callahan.
Callahan went on to say that the owners believe there may be more support from the neighborhood due to low attendance at the previous Town Hall meetings where it was gauged that alcohol sales be stricken.
“The tenants want to hold a Town Hall meeting to gauge if the neighborhood might feel differently about it now,” said Callahan. “We want to give them that opportunity.”
The Canaan Corner Store is set to open this Thursday, July 13, with an official ribbon cutting ceremony slated for July 18.
“The tenants asked to hold a meeting as soon as possible,” said Callahan. “They have made it part of their business plan and believe they will be more successful if they make their case to the neighborhood.”
Callahan had not yet finalized a date for the Town Hall, but has narrowed it down to either July 25 or July 27. It will be announced in The Morgan County Citizen when the date and time are finalized.