RUSSELLVILLE, Ark.- The room was packed for a City Council meeting on Thursday night for one topic : turning a dry city, “wet”.
Pope county is one of about 35 counties in Arkansas, that are totally dry.
As the night ended, the Council Members voted to not form a committee to discuss possibly opening the city up for alcohol sales.
Depsite the decison tonight, several citizens made the journey to let their voice be heard.
“It’s an easy place to make home,” said Emily Young.
Young and her mother own Dog Ear Books in downtown Russellville.
“I’m into investing locally because I think that would really help us.”
She’s just one of many here at City Hall hoping that the Council allows alcohol sales within the city limits.
“I hope we become a wet county because the income from that will benefit the community,” Young said.
With such diverse opinions on a topic, it is more than likely going to have a previous record.
“The issue has been brought up several times in the past,” said Alderman, Nathan George.
George says this is the first time the city is bringing the issue back to the table.
“How do we go about that as a city. Can we officially petition and get people to sign it or can we get people to do that for us, how does that work.”
He says allowing alcohol sales will bring more revenue to the city.
“We already have restaurants that sell alcohol,” George said. “It would be a good fit for the city.”
However, not everyone agrees.
“If it’s not broke don’t fix it,” said Jerry Burris, a Russellville Pastor.
Burris says that he believes that Pope county should remain dry.
“You’re going to increase the possibility of more drunk drivers on the road because it’s easier to get.”
While community members are split on the wet/dry issue, they’re hoping city leaders take in public input.
“To hear every side I think would be good.”
This is the first official public discussion the city has had about the issue. However, one of the business owners is thinking of petitioning to put the wet/dry issue back on the table.