Petitioners put booze question on area ballot

The Meadville Tribune
Thursday, March 12, 2015

CONNEAUT LAKE  ̶  Voters will have another opportunity to decide if Conneaut Lake Borough will remain a dry town or if alcohol sales will be permitted.

The Conneaut Lake Community Development Committee spearheaded a campaign to have the question put on the May 19 ballot.  Seventy borough residents signed the petition to have the question placed on the ballot for the spring primary.  Only 35 signatures were needed.

The question was last on the ballot in 2011 when the vote was 84 against having alcohol sold in the borough and 64 approving the idea, thus keeping the borough a “dry” town.

The question can only be placed on the ballot every three years, according to Melanie Mushrush, director of Crawford County Voter Services.

Generally in a primary election, only registered Democrats or Republican can cast ballots.  With special questions, all registered voters regardless of their party registration can vote.  Those not registered Democrat or Republican can vote only on the special question.

Bill Eldridge, chairman of CLCDC, previously said economics is the reason why the CLCDC believes alcoholic beverages should be allowed to be sold in the borough.  Pointing out that people can buy alcohol only 100 feet from the borough line, Eldridge said previously that having it available within Conneaut Lake lines would be an incentive for hotels and high-end restaurants to consider investing in the borough.

This is at least the fifth time Conneaut Lake Borough residents have voted on this question.

History records show that in 1945, 144 voted against alcohol sales and 54 said yes  ̶  with 96 percent of the voters at that time casting votes on the question.

The vote totals were then 155 to 125 in 1957 and 139 to 89 in 1963.

Dick Holabaugh, president of Conneaut Lake Borough Council, said at a recent council work session that council would not take a stand on the issue as a government body.  If the question is approved by the voters, borough council then would have to allow alcohol to be sold in the borough.

The CLCDC also is spearheading the town’s current revitalization construction project.  The committee is comprised of active interested citizens with specific goals to improve business and economic activity and to make the town more attractive to business, tourists and consumers.