Middlesboro says ‘yes’ to alcohol sales in wet/dry vote

Published: Jun. 23, 2020 at 6:04 PM EDT
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MIDDLESBORO, Ky. (WYMT) - Middlesboro has officially voted to become a ‘wet’ city. The final results released by the Bell County clerk show that ‘Wet’ received 1,215 votes to 653 for ‘Dry', a margin of 65 percent to 35 percent.

For decades, Middlesboro has not allowed alcohol to be sold in the city. In Tuesday’s Primary Election, people who live in Middlesboro voted to decide if their city would become wet. It has been moist since 2015, meaning restaurants could serve alcohol. Now stores will be able to sell alcohol as well.

“I think Middlesboro could use the revenue from it but if I had my wish it wouldn’t go wet,” said voter Juanita Harrell.

Harrell is against the sale as people in her family have had problems with alcohol.

“Alcohol is a root of all evil it just tears families apart in my opinion,” said Harrell.

Cookie Long has the same opinion, thinking back to the 1950′s when the town was wet.

“I can remember some of the things that went on so and it didn’t leave a good taste in my mouth so no,” said Long.

The tax revenue from alcohol sales helps fund the police department.

“I’d rather pay some other kind of taxes to go to them as to that,” Long stated.

Some voters wanted to find another source of revenue, but others wanted to keep the money in Middlesboro.

“It’s here. A lot of people’s idea is that they don’t want it here. It’s already here. All we’re doing is losing money to the neighboring cities,” said John Ayres.

All the surrounding towns such as Pineville were already wet.

“They’re booming I mean they’re doing good,” said Ayres.

With many business closing their doors during the pandemic, John Hemms says money in the city is needed.

“I think we need all the help we can get right now,” said Hemms. “Cause they are going to get it anyway. Anyway it goes they’re going to go somewhere and get it.”

Last Tuesday, more than 1,000 people came to the Middlesboro Community Center to vote, which was the only voting location in Bell county. The results for the in person on Tuesday was 490 in favor of alcohol sales and 286 against.

Copyright 2020 WYMT. All rights reserved.

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