Controversial Craighead County Alcohol Issue Questioned in Survey

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -- The topic of alcohol has long been a controversial issue in Craighead County...and now a new survey suggests that Jonesboro residents are separated about alcohol sales in the city limits.

The question: "How strongly would you support or oppose Jonesboro becoming a wet city? That is, allowing alcoholic beverage to be sold at liquor stores, grocery stores, gas stations and other outlets?" was posed and the answers may surprise you.

The study, conducted by co-directors for the Center for Social Research at ASU, found Jonesboro residents divided over the topic of alcohol sales in the city.

The majority or 42.7% of the respondents were against serving alcohol, with 19.5% supporting it and almost 18% strongly supporting it.  16% neither supported nor opposed the question, while nearly 4% did not know or refused to answer.

It's a survey that has both sides speaking up.

"I really don't think that it is going to be something that brings the community down. I think that defiantly a wet county would be a good thing because I think it would bring more revenue to our city," said Sheffield's general manager Stefanie Savoy.

"If we are very successful economically without it and we've done real well in this community without it, then why do we think we need it all of a sudden?  If you want to do it in the privacy of your own home, that's your business," said Craighead County Judge Dale Haas.

Craighead County was actually wet before World War II. Back in September of 1944, a countywide election was held, outlawing the sale of alcoholic beverages inside the county lines. Judge Haas recalled a conversation he had with an inmate during his time as sheriff.

"He said the one thing I've learned in life about drinking and drugs is that if you let the devil ride, sooner or later he'll want to drive and you'll end up in a place just like I am today. It literally wrecks lives," said Haas.

"It does cause problems," agreed Savoy, "But it does bring good things as well. You take your good with your bad."

The 400 phone surveys were randomly conducted between January 27th and February 5th.