By Beth Thomas Harmon
RIPLEY – The city of Ripley voted to approve the sale of beer, wine and liquor within the city limits in a close election Tuesday night.
Forty percent of Ripley’s 3,799 voters turned up at the polls to cast a vote, more than what turned out for the city’s municipal elections in June.
Proposition 1, the sale of liquor and light wine, passed with 887 votes, or 55.2 percent. Voting against it were 721 voters, or 44.8 percent. Proposition 2, the sale of beer and light wine, earned a 883 votes, or 56.3 percent, while 684, or 43.7 percent, voted against it.
“The people have spoken, and we will do our best with what we have to deal with,” said Ripley Mayor Chris Marsalis. As of Tuesday night, possession of alcoholic beverages is no longer a crime in Ripley, but Marsalis said it will take until the Oct. 1 Board of Aldermen meeting for the city to be prepared to accept ABC permits. An informational session is being planned at a later date for those interested in ABC permits.
Chris Murray, a Ripley resident who works in Tennessee, said he is excited that he will no longer have to purchase alcohol outside of his hometown.
“I work in Collierville, and it was so disappointing that I couldn’t buy it in my town,” he said. “I would have to pick alcohol up in Tennessee just to enjoy it here. I thought that was a huge disservice to Ripley’s economy because people like me had to buy it outside the city limits. I’m thrilled that this passed.”
Evie Murray, a New Jersey native, said this is only her second time to vote.
“I believed this election was important,” she said. “I felt that because we couldn’t buy alcohol here in town, one of our rights had been taken away. It’s about time this passed.”
But not everybody shared the excitement.
“I’m very disappointed that this passed,” said Sarah Clark. “I don’t feel that this is what our town needs.”
Other residents echoed Clark’s opinion, some stating that alcohol was going to cause the city more problems.
Marsalis and Board of Aldermen plan to address questions and concerns at the next board meeting.