An event of some local historical value took place this past week in Belpre.
Because of a vote which took place during the November elections, a Belpre restaurant was able to serve alcohol to its customers for the first time since Prohibition. Two convienence stores will soon be able to do the same. And a supermarket is seeking to get a "local option" issue on the ballot to sell alcohol at its store.
I doubt this is good news to a lot of residents, who fought for years to keep the city "dry", saying that's why it's a relatively safe town. It's a victory for those, particularly local businesses, who believed not being able to sell beer and wine in their stores and restaurants affected those businesses.
I'm not sure I agree with either statement. (And I will say that, for background purposes, I once was an occasional alcohol drinker...usually beer...but I quit nearly three years ago when I began taking several medicines for diabetes. Alcoholism is a serious problem, and has been for generations, but I have no problem with someone who wants to have an occasional drink.)
I don't understand the rationale of wanting to keep Belpre dry, when people who want beer or wine can go across the river to Wood County, or to Marietta, or to any store merely outside Belpre's city limits. Yes, it's an inconvienence, but, if they want it, they can do it.
And I realize some restaurant chains which serve alcohol haven't located in Belpre. But there are several "family restaurant" chains (Bob Evans, Shoney's and Denny's, to name a few) which have either declined to open up shop there as well, or never considered locating there in the first place. McDonald's, I'm told, once thought it wouldn't be profitable to have an outlet in Belpre. It finally opened one, and has been there for nearly 20 years.
I know there are Belpre residents...who are very good people, with good intentions...who want to keep the city's image of being a "sleepy little town". But I don't know if, in this day and age, selling alcohol there will change it for the worse or for the better.
After all, Prohibition in the 1930's didn't work, did it?