Press Release: Hardin County United Announces Support for Initiative to Change Alcoholic Beverage Laws in Elizabethtown, Radcliff and Vine Grove

Successful Petition Drive will Allow Voters to Express Their Views on an Issue that Supports Economic Development

Elizabethtown, Kentucky (March 23, 2011) – Hardin County United (HCU) today announced that its Steering Committee has voted to support the ongoing petition drive of the YES for Economic Success (Y.E.S.) Committee to gather signatures of registered voters in Elizabethtown, Radcliff and Vine Grove in order to allow for a referendum later this year and changing existing law to allow alcoholic beverage sales in all three cities.

Y.E.S. is a collaborative group of organizations and concerned citizens which is working to allow voters the opportunity to vote on changing the existing alcoholic beverage laws in all three cities.  While each campaign is separate, each campaign is running concurrently, allowing voters the opportunity to express their view on the same day later this year with the same ballot question.  To date, nine organizations in addition to HCU have endorsed the activities of Y.E.S.

“HCU fully respects the view that the consumption of alcoholic beverages is a personal choice,” said HCU Chairperson Harry L. Berry.  “However, HCU believes that it is entirely appropriate to allow voters to express how they feel about the issue and therefore we support the ongoing petition drive to obtain the required number of signatures to bring this issue to a vote in all three cities,” said Berry.

Members of HCU believe the issue of alcoholic beverage sales has become an economic issue.  Research indicates millions of dollars are being left on the table in surrounding counties by Hardin County citizens when they travel to Bullitt, Jefferson, Meade and Nelson counties to purchase alcoholic beverages.  It’s time to put these dollars in local cash registers along with the taxes that such sales generate.

Changing existing law to allow alcoholic beverage sales will enhance economic development efforts in all three cities.  The availability of alcoholic beverages in restaurants, pubs, etc., is an issue which is often considered by professional site selection representatives and business decision makers to be a quality of place issue.  Changing the law will make it easier to open new establishments in the historic buildings in downtown Elizabethtown and Vine Grove and in commercial areas in Radcliff.

Finally, changing the law will make the community more competitive when it comes to attracting tourists along the I-65 corridor.  Most tourists would like a choice when it comes to the opportunity to consume alcoholic beverages.  Most of the communities that Hardin County competes with in the tourism arena, such as Bardstown, Bowling Green, Columbus, IN, Jeffersonville, IN, Lexington, Louisville and Nashville allow alcoholic beverage sales.

“Hardin County United was established to follow-up, prioritize and implement various strategic goals which were established as part of the Hardin County Vision Project in 2010,” said Luke B. Schmidt, President of L.B. Schmidt & Associates, LLC, the consulting firm which conducted the Vision Project and provides consulting services to HCU.

“During the Vision Project, we asked community leaders many questions pertaining to ‘quality of life/place’ including their views of the current dining scene.  Only 28% of the respondents found the dining/entertainment scene to be ‘robust,’” said Schmidt.

“When asked if current alcoholic beverage laws hinder the development of new dining and entertainment ventures, nearly 70% said YES.  For those who answered YES to this question, 90% said that the laws should be changed in order to attract new dining and entertainment ventures (and improve the quality of place for the community),” Schmidt stated.

Additional information on this issue can be obtained by visiting the Y.E.S. Web site (www.2011yes.com).

Hardin County United (HCU) was established for the purpose of examining the various strategic goals which were established by the Hardin County Vision Project in 2010.  The intent of HCU is to prioritize the goals and to develop implementation strategies.  HCU’s leadership team includes Hardin County Judge/Executive Harry Berry who chairs the Steering Committee; One Knox Executive Director Brad Richardson, who chairs the Community Development Subcommittee; North Central Education Foundation President/CEO Al Rider, who chairs the Education Subcommittee; and Hardin Circuit Court Judge Ken Howard who chairs the Governance Subcommittee.  Luke Schmidt, President of L.B. Schmidt & Associates, LLC, provides management and consulting services to HCU.

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