At the Greenwood City Council meeting Monday night the council narrowly passed, for its first of three readings, an ordinance that would allow a local restaurant owner to apply for a private club license. At the September meeting Josh Niles approached the council to ask permission seek the license so that beer and mixed drinks could be sold at his sports grill set to open in Greenwood later this year.

The vote was 4-2 with aldermen Tim Terry, Lance Terry and AC Brown voting for the ordinance and Rod Powell and Daniel McDaniel voting against. Mayor Doug Kinslow voted for the measure to provide a majority. Councilman Dr. Lee Johnson was absent.

Even with the an ordinance from the council Niles will still need approval from the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission.

The ordinance will have to be read three times unless the council finds some extraordinary circumstances to pass it with an emergency clause. Without the emergency clause the ordinance can not pass until at least December if the council gives their approval.

Greenwood citizen, Dr. James Burgess, spoke out against alcohol sales during the citizen’s forum portion of the meeting saying, “I would like the council to help keep our community a good community,” said Burgess. “I would like to ask you to keep us alcohol free and reject the application to open an establishment to serve liquor.”

Burgess stated three reason that he was opposed to the idea of serving alcohol in Greenwood were: That serving alcohol could lead to marijuana sales, gambling, casinos among other things.

That Greenwood has grown and will continue to grow without the addition of alcohol sales.

That the citizens have voted the county dry.

“I believe that a majority of our citizens still it want it that way,” said Burgess.

After Dr. Burgess, Mr. Niles addressed the council and stated that he was interested in bringing growth and tax money into the city. “Everytime I come to one of these meetings all I hear is cost, cost, cost, cost,” said Niles. “To me this is a tax issue. I think that we are doing our community a service by allowing a private club to be here even it was not my not my own business.”

Councilman Rod Powell stated that he will continue to vote against the ordinance until there is a plan in place that will direct where such businesses can be located, what the tax rate will be and where that tax money will go. Powell stated that he would want the proceeds from the tax to go towards youth aquatic activities. “If I am going to go forward with this ordinance we are going to have the state maximum tax and we are going to direct that money towards youth activities and put it under the purview of the Parks and Recreation Commission. But you may have the votes and you may not need my vote.”

The private club ordinance is expected to be on the agenda for the November meeting of the Greenwood City Council for its second reading.