JACKSON — For many years, a liquor store sitting off of Highway 15 on the Perry and Breathitt line advertised itself as “the last chance for 100 miles;” a statement that remained true until Wolfe County opened up to alcohol sales. As a wet district, Perry County was a rarity in Southeastern Kentucky. Over the years, the towns of Cumberland, Manchester and Whitesburg became wet districts, but their respective counties remained dry, leaving Perry County as the only oasis in the center of an 8-county cluster that consists of nearly 100,000 citizens. That statistic changed on July 12, when Breathitt voters elected to legalize alcohol sales in their county.
Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Grimes announced the official results of the vote Tuesday evening, with 2,323 selecting “yes” to alcohol sales and 1,717 choosing “no”. The margin consisted of 58 percent pro and 42 percent against. Out of 21 precincts in Breathitt County, 18 of them, including Jackson, will become wet, with 3 precincts maintaining their dry status.
Now, the only dry district a motorist will touch on a drive from Hazard to Lexington via Highway 15 is Powell County. Alcohol sales have been a major issue in the news this week. The City of Vicco passed the first reading of an ordinance that will make alcohol sales legal in their district on Sundays. The Perry County Fiscal Court has considered a similar ordinance for Sunday sales, although no resolution about the subject has been presented yet to the Fiscal Court.
Officials involved with all of these new alcohol sales resolutions have highlighted economic stimulation as the primary factor behind the proposals.
Sam Neace can be reached at 606-629-3243 or on Twitter @HazardHerald.