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Vote no Tuesday
On Tuesday, voters in Elizabethtown will make an important decision regarding the future of the city. They can vote no in opposition of expansion of alcohol sales, or yes in favor of bars.
Restaurants currently selling alcohol would have an increased incentive to promote alcohol consumption if the ballot question passes. The profit margin is much greater for alcohol sales than food, and they will not be restricted to a maximum of 30 percent in gross sales of alcohol.
Unfortunately, a lot of bar patrons go to bars to become intoxicated. Do you think serving the economic interests of bars and some restaurants is worth more drivers under the influence of alcohol? If you don’t then you should vote no.
The News-Enterprise reported on Sept. 27, “520 drivers were arrested for DUIs (in Hardin County) during the first six months of 2012, compared to 409 during the same period last year, an increase of 27 percent. Asked what caused the increase, (County Attorney Jenny) Oldham said, ‘The only variable in play is alcohol availability in the county’s three largest cities.’”
“During the first six months of 2012, officers arrested 104 for fourth-degree assault-domestic violence, compared to 87 during the same period last year,” said County Jailer Danny Allen.
According to the Public Affairs Branch of the Kentucky State Police headquarters in Frankfort there were “105 alcohol-related crashes in Hardin County between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2012. Those crashes resulted in 62 injuries and two deaths.” Expect these numbers to increase if yes passes.
The ballot question reads, “Are you in favor of the sale of distilled spirits and wine by the drink for consumption on the premises in Elizabethtown?” This is very deceptive, since distilled sprits and wine by the drink currently are sold in restaurants in Elizabethtown. If no carries the vote, that will not change.
One of our great freedoms the defenders of liberty fought and died for is the freedom to vote. Do your civic and patriotic duty Tuesday by voting. If the current climate in Elizabethtown restaurants is acceptable to you or less offensive than the alternative of unrestricted sale you should vote no. Vote no for the safety and environment of Elizabethtown.
It’s for development
I love Elizabethtown. I grew up here and have spent most of my adult life working and raising a family here. It’s been good to me.
If you grew up here and you are over the age of 50, you remember a time when our downtown was alive. The People’s Store, Shower’s and Hays Drug, Newberry’s, Western Auto, all of them vibrant hubs of activity and commerce with a unique local flair. Those days are gone and will never return, but I believe downtown Elizabethtown can be redeveloped. Not in the same way as before but even better, with local entrepreneurial investment and a genuine Elizabethtown character that chain stores and franchise restaurants will never match.
There is one major obstacle that prevents this vision of a revitalized Elizabethtown more than any other. Like me, you might have been surprised to learn that the option election we held last year did not eliminate the requirement for restaurants to seat 100 or more people and produce at least 70 percent of its revenue in food to serve alcohol. These restrictions all but eliminate the many vacant downtown store fronts from being transformed into bistros and cafes serving fine food, wine and drink. They are simply too small and the 70/30 limit is too restrictive.
Once again, the residents of Elizabethtown have the opportunity to correct this by voting Tuesday in a special election. For me, this is a matter of economic development for our downtown district and the region. It will put us on a level playing field with other nearby communities that have vibrant downtown districts, such as Bardstown. If passed, I believe it will open the door to local entrepreneurs once again investing in downtown Elizabethtown.
Imagine our historic district alive in the evenings with restaurants, retail shops and cafes filled with local citizens and visitors the Historic State Theater and the new Elizabethtown Sports Park are drawing. It can happen.
I hope you will join me and vote yes Tuesday to revitalize our historic downtown.
Carl L. Swope
Vote yes Jan. 8
A yes vote Jan. 8 will make Elizabethtown “fully wet” under Kentucky Revised Statute 242.050, KRS 242.125 (2) and KRS 242.127.
A yes vote will allow a limited number of retail liquor drink licenses to be issued in the city limits of Elizabethtown. This type of license allows smaller restaurants to sell wine and distilled spirits for consumption on premises.
A yes vote will eliminate the 100 seat minimum and 70/30 food-to-alcohol requirement for businesses issued one of these new licenses.
A yes vote will eliminate many significant barriers hindering investment decisions that can positively impact downtown Elizabethtown and our region.
Why is this important?
When the BRAC transformation of Fort Knox brought thousands of government workers to our region, I talked to several who had decided to live in Louisville. Why? Because Louisville offered the kinds of shopping and dining amenities Elizabethtown did not.
Some workers relocated to Bardstown, adding a half hour to their morning commutes. Why? Because that community offered a variety of options they could not find here.
As an economic development professional and Hardin County resident, I found this disheartening and disappointing, and vowed to do all I could to help eliminate arbitrary, antiquated laws that hinder development in our region.
A yes vote will help keep Hardin County dollars in Hardin County and attract new investment, which is a primary objective of all successful economic development initiatives.
It is a simple economic principle of circulating more, new dollars in an economy to help it sustain and grow itself.
A strong local economy means more opportunity for everyone; new employment opportunities, needed tax dollars for government services, schools, and numerous other quality-of-life elements. Buying local works.
Please vote yes Jan. 8.
Brad Richardson, YES Committee Member
This offering is from Brad Richardson, member of the YES Committee. This submission has neither been authorized nor endorsed by the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce or One Knox.