Sherwood residents petitioning to make the whole city alcohol friendly

SHERWOOD (KATV) - One of the last dry areas in Pulaski County is trying to make being dry a thing of the past. People in the northern portion of Sherwood are circulating a petition to get a wet/dry measure on a ballot for a special election.

The area north of Maryland Avenue in Sherwood is the dry half of the city and the Sherwood Chamber of Commerce says it shows. Marcia Cook, executive director of the Sherwood Chamber of Commerce, is convinced the amount of business drops off north of Maryland because of the lack of the ability to serve and sell alcohol.

Volunteers with the chamber of commerce went door to door on Saturday hitting up registered voters asking them to sign their petition.

"That's where the growth is, in the north," said Beverly Williams, a volunteer circulating the chamber of commerce's petition. "We need to bring those restaurants, bring the convenience stores and bring those grocery stores to where the residents are now moving."

In the way of bringing that business to the northern part of Sherwood is the lack of the ability to grant liquor licenses in that area. Cook said she's dealt with several restaurants and large grocery store chains that have expressed interest in building out that way, but decide against it after realizing their inability to sell alcohol.

"Once [these businesses] have found out that they're not able to serve alcohol in this area, they don't want to be here," said Cook.

The area north of Maryland used to be part of Gray Township, a now defunct government entity that used to control that area of Sherwood. Former Gray Township's decision to go dry was made back in 1956 and Cook claims it's about time for a change. Cook said the change starts with putting the measure on a ballot.

"That's what this petition is for right now," said Cook. "It's only to get the issue on the ballot."

Cook isn't only concerned about the lack of business, but the fleeing dollars to surrounding communities where Sherwood residents are going to shop and eat out instead of in Sherwood. A University of Arkansas study showed Sherwood is losing out on roughly $10 million in local sales every year because of the area's dry status.

Folks can still sign the petition to put the wet/dry measure on the ballot in Sherwood by stopping by the Mapco at the corner of AR 107 & Johnson Drive in Sherwood on Sunday.