Dry Municipalities in Bradford County Looking to Become ‘Wet’

NORTH TOWANDA TOWNSHIP -- The primary election is just one week away and voters in parts of Bradford County will have a question on the ballot. Voters in North Towanda Township and the borough of Sylvania will decide if they want restaurants and hotels in their communities to sell alcohol.

North Towanda Township and Sylvania are currently both dry municipalities. If you want to drink alcohol while you're out to eat, you have to go to restaurants outside these areas.

But some voters hope that will change next week.

Restaurants and hotels in North Towanda Township in Bradford County are currently not allowed to sell alcohol. But just a few feet over the township line in Towanda, you can get alcohol at a restaurant.

A hotel in North Towanda Township started a petition to get a question on the upcoming primary election ballot, asking voters to decide if they want to see alcohol served and sold here.

"We passed the petition so we could maybe acquire a liquor license for here so we can serve alcohol with our meals," Blythe Jones said.

Blythe Jones and her husband own Jones Diner in North Towanda Township. She believes her business would improve if the referendum passes. The referendum has been on the ballot before but did not pass. Now Jones and others are hoping it will.

"A lot of people would like to be able to drink a beer with their wings or burgers or drink wine with their dinner. So we miss out on a lot of that business because they go to places where they can drink alcohol," Jones said.

Even though North Towanda Township is a dry municipality, there's a liquor store there. People can still buy alcohol but they can't consume it at a restaurant or hotel.

"In my backyard, there's a liquor store but over here we can't have alcohol," Mary Rose Shaylor said.

Many of the people Newswatch 16 spoke with say they will vote yes on liquor sales.

"We need to give it a chance for the tax base," Shaylor said.

But not everyone is in favor.

"I do not want the liquor sales. There are enough places that have liquor around here," Martha Sayman said.

Sayman does not want liquor served or sold in restaurants here.

"Breaks up a lot of families, families that drink, buy liquor instead of food and clothing for their children," Sayman said.

Sylvania will also have the question on its primary ballot.

The primary election is next Tuesday, May 16.

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