Alcohol sales on November ballot

Published 12:18 pm Monday, October 20, 2008

Despite the benign name of “local options,” it is often a contentious issue since it involves the sale of alcohol.

This year voters in eight Lawrence County precincts will decide whether to allow alcohol sales in their neighborhoods. The businesses asking to be allowed to sell alcohol include the Wal-Mart Super Center in South Point, the South Point BP, two Proctorville BPs, Rich Oil on S. Third Street in Ironton, and Speedway and the University Mart, both on Liberty Avenue in Ironton.

One of the most talked about local options is the Clark’s gas station in Coal Grove on Marion Pike.

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School officials and the Coal Grove Betterment Club have come out against the sale of alcohol at the gas station. The school is concerned because the gas station is right next to the Dawson-Bryant High School.

Rick Clark, co-owner of Clark’s, said in a previous interview that the business would only sell beer and wine.

The store will only sell alcohol in closed containers that will not be consumed on the premises, Clark said.

“It’s not like it’s a bar,” he said “We are not going to have people drinking beer in the parking lot.”

The Coal Grove Betterment Club issued a press release asking people in Precinct C to vote against the measure. The letter issued after their Sept. 11 meeting said the club unanimously voted to “strongly oppose the sale of liquor in the village of Coal Grove” because “the Coal Grove Betterment Club members are deeply concerned and want to protect our children.”

Vicky McDaniels, the vice president of the Coal Grove Betterment Club, said they just don’t want alcohol sales in the village.

“It’s dry and we want to keep it dry,” she said, adding that she thought the last time there was alcohol sold in the village was in 1945.

“I’m afraid once we get it into the village, the next thing is that there will be a bar on every corner like in other villages,” McDaniels said. “Once you get one, it’s easier to get others.”

McDaniels is doesn’t think it is right that the measure is being voted on by only one of the three precincts in the village. She lives in Precinct B so she can’t vote on that local option.

“This is our village, it should be up to all the people not just the ones in one precinct,” she said.

Clark said that the company doesn’t want to be a a full-fledged liquor store.

“We are not trying to be a bad neighbor. We feel like we are a big part of the community in the Tri-State area,” he said. “The people have a choice. We want to be able to compete with our competition. We will follow all laws.”

Clark’s received enough signatures to have the petition on the ballot Nov. 4, and if the measure is passed by voters, Liquor Control will send an investigator to determine the distance between Dawson-Bryant High School and Clark’s.

Clark’s is owned by the John Clark Oil Co. which also owns the South Point BP, the Proctorville BPs, and University Mart BP.