Not even an hour after the polls closed Tuesday, there was talk that new businesses were eying Somerset.
“As of last night at 6:45 p.m we heard rumblings that people are starting to take a look,” said David Weddle of the Progress Somerset group, which spearheaded the wet-dry vote.
Alcohol sales were adopted by more than 700 votes. Wednesday, city and county leaders said that there’s already renewed interest in the community. “We have had discussions with several bigger name companies that have expressed interest in coming here,” said Bobby Clue with the Somerset/Pulaski Co. Chamber of Commerce. He estimates that 80 to 150 new jobs could be created by such ventures.
But first city leaders will have to adopt new ordinances and it will be 60 to 90 days before the ABC grants the first license.
Somerset ‘s population is only 11,000 and because of the class of city it is, some businesses will still be limited on the type of alcohol they will be able to sell. “I think many of those places will be able to sell beer, but may not be able to sell liquor,” said Weddle.
And since Somerset is a "Class 3 city" only about 4 to 5 stand alone liquor stores will be allowed. “I think in Somerset you won’t see what they call a bar, a typical bar where you go in and have a drink. I don’t know if those places will be available,” said Weddle.
Somerset Police say they are currently working on the alcohol ordinance with city officials.