Some folks in Roaring Spring, which has been a dry town for 99 years, said allowing businesses to have liquor licenses will bring economic value and a new social scene to the area, while officials from a different dry borough said they’re happy with their life without alcohol, and changing that would just bring more issues.
Robert Berkheimer, a Roaring Spring resident and business owner, is part of a group of locals spreading the word about the “Roaring Spring Alcohol Reforendum.”
“Anything we can do for the town to bring businesses in is good for all the businesses in the town. Any kind of economic stimulus will trickle down to the rest of the community,” Berkheimer said.
The group said the reaction has been positive, and hope other locals see the potential for a new night life in the community.
“We do lots of live music, so you know, it encourages that kind of an environment, as well as all of the other cultural and art things that go along with a community environment,” Berkheimer said.
The police chief in Martinsburg, another dry borough in Blair County, said they don’t see a need for alcohol sales, arguing alcohol would lead to more issues.
“A lot of problems are brought on by alcohol or drugs or the combinations of the two, domestic situations, thefts, things like that, can all be alcohol based,” Kerry Hoover, Chief of the Martinsburg Police Department, said.
The Altoona-Blair County Airport Authority is also working towards getting their liquor license, but their initiative won’t affect the entire township where the airport is located.
“Our initiative on the ballot is focused and targeted just at the airport. Our liquor license couldn’t be transfered to someone else in the township. If the restuarnt were to leave the airport at same point, the license stays here,” Tracy Plessinger, Manager at the Altoona-Blair County Airport, said.
Both the airport authority and folks working in Roaring Spring said bringing alcohol sales to the area will add value to businesses.
“That’s the goal: to make a full service location that’s here at the airport. The more activity we can bring to the airport, the better it is for us overall,” Plessinger said.
Plessinger said they have enough signatures to get the airport’s referendum on the ballot for May. The folks in Roaring Spring said they’re very close to the 156 signatures needed, and will keep working to get that number before the March 12th deadline.