A year after Grovetown residents passed a referendum that officials hoped would attract sit-down restaurants to the city, El Kiosko remains the only such business.
The referendum approved by 70 percent of Grovetown voters in November 2005 allows Sunday by-the-drink alcohol sales in sit-down restaurants between 1 and 11 p.m. on Sundays.
Mayor Dennis Trudeau said he had hoped the approved referendum would attract more restaurants to Grovetown. City leaders say most chain restaurants won't open a new location in an area where they are not allowed to serve alcohol on Sundays.
"We've had a few that are interested, but it is just the location had to be there," Trudeau said, referring to a failed effort by a developer to construct a residential housing project fronted by a commercial area in the former location of Mobile Home Estates on Wrightsboro Road.
An Applebee's expressed interest in the project, but nothing further has been heard from the company since the developer's financing fell through, Trudeau said.
Now, Trudeau said, plans for that property are being discussed by another developer, who wants to make the entire property commercial with several retail stores.
"We've got someone finally making some movement over there at the Mobile Homes Estates property," Trudeau said.
"We hope that we will be able to get a sit-down restaurant in there."
The city has previously waited for restaurants to express interest in moving to the city, but a more aggressive approach is on the horizon.
Sonny McDowell heads up the business development arm of the newly formed Economic Development Study Committee. The Wrightsboro Group of the committee, under McDowell's leadership, will try to lure more businesses to the city of more than 10,000 people.
"We'll be doing some recruiting outside of the city," McDowell said of the group that was formed at the end of October to work toward developing Wrightsboro Road into the city's commercial corridor.
McDowell said the Grovetown Merchants Association was recently created and its leaders are working on an organization plan and expect to be recruiting members in December.
"We're really just getting started," McDowell said. "We have some ideas."
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