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Front Page September 14, 2010  RSS feed

Is Oakwood going to get “Wet”?

By Melissa Missildine

Oakwood is a "dry" town. That doesn't mean no one drinks beer, liquor, or spirits here. That just means they are driving elsewhere to buy it. That also means they are giving other cities revenue in sales and sales tax that could be benefiting the City of Oakwood. City Councilman/ Volunteer Fireman/business owner, David Neel wants all that to change.

Although things have been rough for Neel this year, he has big plans for the City of Oakwood. He is losing his Chevy dealership, just like other small dealerships across the country. That is a done deal. There is nothing he can do about it, like it or not. And he doesn't like it. He had a difficult choice to make...keep his chin up and turn lemons into lemonade or pack it in and go home. Neel is not a quitter. He will continue to sell the new Chevys he has on his lot and he says he thinks he will keep selling used cars, ATVs, lawnmowers, and such and keep the shop open for vehicle repairs and maintenance. Along with his hardware store, you would think that would be enough for a man who is about to celebrate his 60th birthday. Well, apparently, it is not.

After much contemplation, Neel has decided to turn his, now defunct, car showroom into a restaurant where he plans to serve alcohol.

When asked why he wanted to bring alcohol sales to Oakwood, Neel responded "It's not like it isn't here already. People are driving in to other cities to buy it. They are drinking it in restaurants in other cities too. That's money that could be staying right here in Oakwood. That would be more tax dollars for Oakwood and potentially more property taxes. There's no tellin' how many businesses might move into Oakwood if they could sell beer, wine, or liquor. Oakwood is going to have to do something so it doesn't dry up and die."

Neel could just apply for a liquor license and open his restaurant as a private club. It is a way people have been getting around the system of "dry" versus "wet" for a very long time. Neel said he did not want to do that. "If the Super Pantry or the gas station wanted to sell beer and wine, that wouldn't affect me selling it by the glass at my restaurant. People would be buying it to take home from places like that. It's different. And I want to bring in more tax money for Oakwood"

Although he already has 40 names on his petition, he still has to run an ad in the paper telling people of the proposal to change the city ordinance to allow for beer, wine, and liquor sales, fill out all the official forms, send them in to the court to be approved, finish the petition and send it in for approval, and then it could go before the council to be added to the ballot. The November ballot looks unrealistic but May looks promising.

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