Jenkins voters have a choice to go "moist"

By: Marcus Conroy Email
By: Marcus Conroy Email

Voters in the city of Jenkins have a choice in May: to stay dry, or allow the sale of alcoholic beverages in certain restaurants.

Mason Gibson started a petition for the city to go moist, and collected more than 250 signatures around town.

If voters support the measure, restaurants that seat at least 50 people can apply to sell alcohol. Right now, there's not a restaurant that would even qualify.

The Jenkins mayor thinks this ordinance could help change that, but one pastor says too many problems come with alcohol.

"I'm gonna vote 'yes.' I'm for it," said Sheri Gross, who lives in Jenkins.

"If you're asking me if I'm voting for it, yes I will. Do I support it? Yes I do, because it is a positive for the city in terms of growth," said Mayor GC Kincer.

He says Jenkins is an attractive option for businesses because of its location by Highways 23 and 119, but many pass up the city because it is dry.

"I think it's necessary. I feel that this city like many others, is heading for a crisis, all the indicators are going down right now," said Kincer.

There are only three eating establishments in the city, but Kincer says a moist vote could help transform Jenkins from a "drive-by" city, to a "stop-by" city.

Emmanuel Baptist Church is next door to Jenkins City Hall, and Pastor Jeff Foster says he is against alcohol sales.

"Our taxes are gonna go up because we need more law enforcement. Domestic violence is going to increase. We'll have more robberies and other problems of that nature," said Foster.

He says he is talking to other pastors in Jenkins to rally against alcohol, and keep the city dry.

However, one point he and Kincer do agree on is they want to help the town survive and thrive.

"The sign says we're 'A Free to Grow City,' and I agree with that. But I want it to grow the right way," said Foster.

Voters will decide in the May 17 primary whether Jenkins will go moist or not.

It could be the second city in Letcher County to go moist, joining Whitesburg which approved sales in 2007.

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