There is a new fraternity in Marianna, Elks Lodge #1516. The private organization has been in the county for nearly 70 years. A recent visit from Alcoholic Beverage Control, or ABC, results in big changes for the organization. The lodge sits near Deliverance Baptist Church
, ruling out a county approved beer and wine license. So the lodge went to the City of Marianna
. Tuesday night, Pastor Will Daniels with Deliverance Baptist Church
, opened the Marianna City
commission meeting with a statement, "We were not and I quote not, in opposition to them being annexed into the City of Marianna
By showing support for the organization, commissioners were able to vote with confidence. "The commissioners 5-0 decision last night,” said Marianna City Manager, Jim Dean. “It’s an indication as to their support for the businesses and the people in this community." Elks Chairman of the Board of Directors, Bill Willingham, says the lodge didn't realize they needed a license. In the county an establishment selling alcohol must be 2,500 feet away from a school or church. Just down the road sits Deliverance Baptist Church. In the city of Marianna the distance is reduced to 300 feet.
Willingham says the price of utilities and insurance is lower within the city limits, making the transition beneficial. Tuesday night the Marianna City commissioners approved the annexation.
Elks Lodge has already applied for a wine and beer license. Chairman Willingham says the city reduced utility and insurance rates are as important as the alcohol license.