Russell petitions certified

Greenup County Clerk Pat Hieneman goes over petition verification with her deputy clerks Friday after Stephen Blair delivered them. The petitions call for a 'moist' vote to be put on the November ballot for Russell.

Voters in Russell will decide in November whether to allow sales of liquor by the drink in their city.

Greenup County Clerk Pat Hieneman on Friday certified signatures on petitions seeking to put the issue on the ballot.

Petition organizer Steven Blair needed 268 signatures; he got 784. Of those, 683 came in from a direct-mail campaign, he said.

If it passes, Russell will allow restaurants seating at least 100 and deriving at least 70 percent of revenue from food to sell liquor by the drink.

However, bars and package sales of alcoholic beverages won’t be allowed. The issue involves only the three precincts in Russell.

Blair was retained to conduct the petition drive by RD Management, which owns and develops the Russell Centre plaza at the intersection of U.S. 23 and Diederich Boulevard. A national company wants to build a restaurant in the center but only if it can sell alcohol.

With the petitions certified, Blair is turning his attention to the election. Between now and November, assistants will campaign door to door in Russell, he said.

Although the petition drive was an overwhelming success, “I don’t take anything for granted,” Blair said. Though the number of signatures was equal to about 66 percent of those who voted in the last election, the presidential contest is likely to swell turnout, he said.

RD Management is keeping the identity of the restaurant company under wraps but Blair said several chains have shown interest in the location.

The intersection perennially ranks among the highest traffic counts in the region, and average household income is $55,000, making it attractive to businesses.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or at (606) 326-2652.

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