Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

October 31, 2012

Stewardson residents to decide whether to allow liquor sales

Jackson Adams
Effingham Daily News

STEWARDSON — Stewardson voters will be able to decide whether the village will remain a dry town on Election Day.

    Stewardson has not had any establishments that could sell alcohol since the Prohibition. Although the town has voted before on whether to change the law, some citizens are concerned with the way the new law that could overturn the dry status is worded.

    “The thing I want to get across is I would love to see it pass and I would love to have people vote the way they intend to,” said Patty Everett of Stewardson.

    Everett said she was concerned with the way the law is worded. On the ballot, the ordinance will read, “Shall the sale at retail of alcoholic liquor be prohibited in the village of Stewardson,” with voters choosing between yes and no. Everett said voters who want Stewardson to become a wet town will have to vote “no,” which she thinks could confuse some voters.

    Everett said Stewardson is missing a chance for additional income by remaining a dry town.

    “It’s one of the main reasons to keep the town alive,” she said. “We’re missing the boat with campers and boaters who are driving out to Lake Shelbyville. I am all for voting the town wet because of that.”

    Some Stewardson residents aren’t so sure the sale of alcohol would make enough of an economic impact to justify bringing alcohol into the town.

    “What are we, a town of alcoholics?” said Lisa Blythe of Stewardson. “That’s not going to save the town. No one drinks enough to keep us open. Alcohol’s a depressant and that’s what it’ll do to our little town.”

    Blythe said a grocery store and restaurant have both recently closed in Stewardson and a package liquor store or bar may not have the same chance to stay open.

    “I don’t see where bringing alcohol into the town is going to bring that much revenue,” she said. “We’ve already lost a grocery store and a restaurant. Everybody eats and we can’t even keep that open.”

    Everett said Stewardson remaining dry  has been a problem and the choice of bringing alcohol into the community could help to bring the town into the 21st century.

    “I think that’s been one of our main hurdles,” she said. “If you want to be progressive or more ahead, this is something we have to do.”

    Jackson Adams can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 131, or jackson.adams@effinghamdailynews.com.