Antrim Township to remain dry

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot

The petitions to put a liquor license referendum on the May 21 primary election ballot failed to gather enough signatures. A core of Antrim Township residents, backed by Comfort Inn and Greencastle Greens Golf Course, were not able to collect 1,660 signatures of registered voters by the March 12 deadline. They did find about 650 people who agreed with the concept.

The petitioners sought to ask voters for approval to turn Antrim into a wet township, meaning that businesses could apply to sell alcohol on their premises. The number of licenses up for grabs would be determined by a formula based on population. The goal of the initiative was to increase revenue and customer bases of the Comfort Inn and the Greens, as well as to attract chain restaurants or other commercial enterprises in the developing areas of the township.

Proponents believed passage of the referendum would benefit the economy of the entire community and relieve the tax burden of residents.

The number of required signatures was based on voter turnout in the November election. Mike Porter, general manager of the golf club, cited lack of time and a shortage of volunteers as the reason for the stymied effort.

"We didn't have a lot of people knocking on doors," he said. "And we only had a couple weeks."

He was not able to have his own employees circulate the petitions because they were not registered Antrim voters.

Porter was not discouraged.

"We will wait two years and try again."

Don Klim, general manager of the Comfort Inn, was out of town and could not be reached for comment.