Thursday, July 1, 2004

Williamstown may get 'wet'

Petitions seek vote on alcohol sales

By Natalie Morales
Enquirer staff writer

WILLIAMSTOWN - Tom and Tammie Robertson think residents in their community should be able to have a cocktail with dinner.

That's not uncommon in most of Northern Kentucky. Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties allow alcohol sales.

But in Grant County, buying alcohol is limited to cities that have petitioned for the right.

"I'm sick of having to drive to Florence to go to a decent restaurant," said Tom Robertson.

The Williamstown residents spent three months collecting signatures of registered voters, trying to get an election on alcohol sales.

"Everybody wanted it to get done, but nobody wanted to do it," he said.

"My wife said all right to it, and then we just started working on it."

The election would decide if the city can allow alcohol sales only for restaurants that get at least 70 percent of their income from food sales and can seat at least 100 patrons, Grant County Judge-executive Darrell Link said.

Robertson said they needed 25 percent of the city's voters from the last general election to sign petitions. They got more than the 203 signatures and plan to turn them in to the county clerk's office by Friday.

Williamstown Mayor Glenn Caldwell supports the petitions and said selling alcohol can help the city financially.

"Look at other small cities throughout Kentucky - Georgetown, for example. Once the opportunity opened up, it appears to bring other positive developments, too," Caldwell said.

Williamstown is already expanding around Barnes Road, and the residents should take advantage and work toward attracting bigger businesses and restaurants, Robertson said.

"I feel it's a good opportunity," he said. "I've not heard a lot of negatives."

Of Kentucky's 120 counties, 60 - mostly in the southern part of the state - are alcohol-free, according to Kentucky Alcoholic Beverage Control.


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