A petition is currently circulating around Logan County and, if there are enough signatures, it will allow for a special election that could result in legalized alcohol sales throughout the county.
The effort is being spearheaded by Adairville mayor Donna Blake and Auburn city council member Norma Kutzman.
By Kentucky state law the petition will need just over 1,000 signatures of registered voters in Logan County in order to initiate a special election. The law requires a successful petition to have 25 percent of the number of voters who turned out in the last general election. In the November 2015 election, only 4,032 people voted; which means 1,008 signatures need to be collected in order to hold a wet/dry election in Logan County.
Currently alcohol can only be sold in the city limits of Russellville, but if this comes to a vote and it passes, alcohol will be able to be sold anywhere in the county – including the cities of Adairville, Lewisburg and Auburn.
The wording on the petition states, “We the undersigned registered voters petition for a countywide election within 3 months of presentation of petition on the following questions: ‘Are you in favor of the sale of alcoholic beverages in Logan County?’”
Blake has been looking into the various options of legalized alcohol sales for several weeks now, after being presented with a new business opportunity for her city.
“We have a man that is wanting to build a bourbon distillery in Adairville,” Blake said. “His plan is to build it just outside the city limits and have it be annexed into the city.”
The prospective business owner is Shawn McCormick, who is from Adairville and wants to move back home in order to open his distillery.
“He has been working for Kraft foods since he graduated from college and he is about to retire and he wants to move back here and open his distillery,” Blake said.
McCormick wants to be able to sell up to three bottles of bourbon from his distillery as well as offer tastings, which would mean changing the current liquor laws.
Blake originally looked into the possibility of eventually annexing the business into the city of Adairville and then just having a city ordinance to allow alcohol sales, but she discovered that cities under 3,000 in population are banned from becoming “wet.”
So, she began exploring possibilities for making a the whole county wet.
“It just makes sense because we are already losing revenue to places like Bowling Green, Springfield and Clarksville,” Blake said.
She soon found others in the county who shared her vision.
“Donna Blake and I have been talking for a few years about trying to get our county wet,” Kutzman said. “We have even talked to (state representative) Martha Jane King in the past to see what our options are. Auburn, Adairville and Lewisburg could use the revenue. Trying to get this to go through individually for each town probably wouldn’t pass. It will take the county as a whole to do this – or not if the votes don’t support it.”
Just last month, Russell County voted to go wet, but a similar vote in Grayson County saw that county stay dry.
“I know several counties in Kentucky have been voting on this for the past several weeks,” Kutzman said. “Some have passed and others haven’t. I hope we have the opportunity to bring this to a vote.”
Blake said the she thinks they already have almost half of the required signatures. She said that if anyone would like to sign the petition or help to circulate it, she can be reached at 270-772-2175.
To contact OJ Stapleton, email [email protected] or call 270-726-8394.