Dry Mississippi town pushes for alcohol vote

(WMC-TV) - A grassroots effort is underway, which could bring alcohol sales to a dry Mississippi town.

Just west of busy Interstate 55 is Senatobia, Mississippi.

For as long as anyone can remember, alcohol has not been allowed.

"I prefer to have no drinking in Senatobia," said resident Donald Partain.

But a new petition could change the course of history in the north Mississippi town.

"The group is called 'Senatobia for a Vote,'" said spokesman Buford Givens. "What we are doing right now is we're trying to get petitions signed that would give the voters of Senatobia the right to vote for or against the sale of alcohol here in town."

A brand new law allows cities like Senatobia to hold an election if at least 20 percent of registered city voters want the issue on the ballot.

"I would vote for it," said lifetime resident Bradley Carter.

Senatobia is nicknamed the "Five Star City," but you won't find any five star restaurants, yet.

Mayor Alan Callicott says if the voters want alcohol, the sales could attract better restaurants and more business.

"We hate to see our dollars leaving town and we do see a lot of our residents may drive to other communities to have a meal that we might not be able to have here in Senatobia," Mayor Callicott said.

Hundreds of people have already signed the petition.

"I think we have around 400 and I think we need 800 or 900.  It's 20 percent of the registered voters," said Givens.

Some residents still prefer to keep alcohol out.

"I feel that it brings a lot of opportunity for as far as people drinking and driving more often in the city of Senatobia," said Partain.

Some churches Action News 5 spoke to also spoke out in opposition to legalizing the sale of alcohol.

But supporters hope the new law will allow the city to speak for itself.

"It would be a good thing because it would encourage more business, bigger business, restaurants, bigger grocery stores, more outside involvement," said Kevin Dixon.

The petition offers a choice of either a vote for beer and light wine or all alcohol, including liquor.

If enough voters sign the peition, the issue may make it on the ballot this November.

You can visit the group's website here.

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