GRR urges ordinance change so it can serve beer at new, city-owned bout venue

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The Gainesville Roller Rebels (GRR) are hoping to make difference at City Hall during next week’s Public Safety Committee meeting on Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 3 p.m. The team, founded in 2007, has partnered with the City of Gainesville to host its bouts at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Multipurpose Center, a move that the team hopes will boost its financial independence and help the team play in high-stakes games in other states. But the city’s current ordinances on alcohol consumption and sales could result in a major delay in the realizing that independence.

Beer sales account for about 1/3 of GRR’s revenue from each bout, but alcohol consumption and sales are currently prohibited at the MLK Center. The inability to take advantage of that concession option would hinder the non-profit team’s ability to use the proceeds from its events to fund practice space rental, travel expenses, and other costs.

“The MLK Center provides well-maintained, air-conditioned facilities with bleachers for spectators and locker rooms for skaters – a perfect location for roller derby,” GRR Treasurer Shannon “Sisco Inferno” Sisco said. “Beer is almost literally ‘liquid gold,’ and will allow us to raise the funds for our practice space and money to send our travel team to an important tournament in April.”

City attorneys have a drafted a re-write of the ordinance that would allow for greater flexibility in granting permission for alcohol sales. The current ordinance has specific exceptions for certain venues, such as the Thomas Center and the Bo Diddley Downtown Community Plaza. Further exceptions require an ordinance change.

The City of Gainesville Public Safety Committee will consider the proposed ordinance changes at its September 25 meeting in Room16 of the basement at City Hall. The Committee can make a recommendation on the issue to the City Commission, which would have the final say on whether the ordinance change passes. GRR skaters and fans have organized a march to City Hall for September 25 to urge the Public Safety Committee to recommend passage of the ordinance change.

A few days after the meeting, GRR will play a bout in Lake City against the Ft. Myers Derby Girls. The bout will take place at Skate Palace, 357 Northwest Hall of Fame Drive in Lake City. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door and are available at; Volta Coffee, Tea, and Chocolate; Sweet Dreams Ice Cream; Wild Iris Bookstore; or through a GRR member. Kids 12 and under get in free.
The first bout at the MLK Center is scheduled for Saturday, October 19, 2013, at 6 p.m., versus the Charlotte (N.C.) Roller Girls.

Miriam “Stocky Balboa” Hill
(352) 262-4509