Danville officials have been giving valuable advice to cities and towns across the state that are considering repealing alcohol prohibition laws, or going “wet.”
In recent weeks, officials from other Kentucky cities such as Murray have visited Danville to discuss the wide variety of issues that arise when a town goes wet. Danville was a “moist” community that allowed alcoholic beverages to only be sold by the drink in approved restaurants. That changed in June 2010, after voters chose to also allow packaged alcohol sales in the city.
Murray and Danville have some similarities, said Danville Assistant Police Chief and Alcoholic Beverage Control Director Tom Bustle. Both are third-class cities with a college. Murray’s population is about 17,000 while Danville has about 16,000 residents.
McClure visited Danville recently and met with Bustle as well as Bridgette Lester, director of codes and financial enforcement.
“I cannot express how helpful people in Danville have been as Murray makes this transition from moist to wet,” McClure said. “Not only did Bridgette and Tom make themselves available to me in person, but they have been extremely valuable resources over the telephone and through email.”
When the city went wet, Danville had to draft its ordinances and forms through extensive research and the help of state ABC officials, Lester said. Now, communities such as Junction City, Somerset, Georgetown, Corbin, Whitesburg and Rockcastle County also are asking for advice as it relates to repealing prohibition laws.
“We’ve made a point of making ourselves available and being happy to help in any way we can,” Lester said.
From a law enforcement perspective, Bustle is accustomed to sometimes exchanging resources with other jurisdictions.
“Helping officials in other cities as their voters decide whether they want to sell alcohol in any form is like a partnership,” Bustle said.
But Bustle, Lester, and Danville financial consultant Michele Gosser all said the process of going wet in Danville would not have gone smoothly without help from state ABC officials.
“I can’t say enough about how helpful they were and still are to us,” Gosser said.