October 24, 2013 by wcobserver
By WCObserver Staff—
For decades some residents of West Fork have wondered why alcoholic beverages aren’t sold in town. One of the most colorful and persistent rumors has been that the churches had control of all the liquor store licenses. Plausible perhaps, but not true.
West Fork, like many other small towns at the time, voted itself dry in 1945. The men were away at war and women voters presumably didn’t want the men coming home and hanging around drinking. Some speculate that the dry campaign was financed by the bootleggers who stood to benefit from a lack of legal alcohol sales. Hence the dry status of West Fork Township.
Arkansas has “wet” and “dry” counties. And, it has exceptions. In a wet county the sale and manufacture of alcoholic beverages is legal… except where it’s not. Washington County is a wet county except in the Townships of: Cane Hill, Crawford, Greenland, Price, Starr Hill, Valley, West Fork, White River, Winslow and Vineyard and in the cities of Prairie Grove and Farmington.
Voters would have to approve a change in the wet-dry status. A petition with signatures of 38% of the registered voters in the township is required to get the issue on the ballot. With about 2200 voters in the township, that means about 840 signatures are needed. The next general election is in November, 2014.
Attitudes toward the sale of alcoholic beverages have changed in this area in recent years. Both Benton and Madison counties are now wet.
If south Washington County residents want to be able to purchase their beer, wine and spirits closer to home and have the community benefit from increased tax revenue, they might want to get the process started now.
There will be resistance.