RUSSELL - Russell residents voted in favor of the legalization of packaged alcohol sales in the city on Tuesday.

Unofficial results from the Greenup County Courthouse showed 551 yes and 336 no votes.

Several residents of one of Greenup County’s most productive cities were divided about allowing local retail to tap into beer and wine sales.

Groups of support and opposition have formed to appeal to the voting populace.

A committee of six Russell residents who advocate for alcohol sales has visibly made its stance with campaign signs in yards and along city roads, saying “Vote Yes in Russell.” Some signs even say, “Vote Yes, For the Good of Russell.”

Though the city of Russell has voted and passed an ordinance allowing restaurants to sell alcohol, few have taken advantage of it.

The eight members of the opposing group spoke out on several points, including limited resources to deal with problematic alcohol use, possibility of increased alcohol-related crime and no guarantee of substantial tax revenue.

Kroger, the largest grocery store in the Russell area that does not cross into either Ironton or Ashland, was a key player in drumming up support for the vote.

The advocacy group includes Kroger Produce Manager Janet Bagby, and the store plans to install a wine store in the Greenup Mall that will cost $300,000, according to a press release from the Ashland Alliance.

Kroger will be selling beer and wine only, no liquor. The Ashland Alliance press release also estimated $50,000 in additional revenue will be brought into the Tri-State by alcohol sales.

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