Liquor Store to Open Near Two Saline Co. Day Cares

EAST END, Ark. - Some in Saline County are promising to continue fighting a liquor store set to open near two day cares.

One of them is the Dillon Family Daycare in East End where kids begin learning the basics as they get ready for Pre-K.

The owner and a state lawmaker who represents the area say the children need the same protections given to those at public and private schools.

"We're going to protect our children, kindergarten and above," explains State Rep. Julie Mayberry, R-Hensley.  "Why are we not protecting our most innocent and most vulnerable children birth to age five?"

The owner an empty suite off Arch St. is one of 21 in who received permits to open liquor stores after voters turned Saline County from dry to wet during last year.

"Where there is a liquor store there is more crime," Mayberry said, citing a February report from the Bureau of Legislative Research that said "...higher alcohol outlet density is associated with...  injuries, crime and violence."

Starting at the store's property line, the first daycare is actually just 350 feet away.  

Dillion Family Daycare is 900 feet from the location.

After opposition was raised, Alcoholic Beverage Control Director Bud Roberts met with both daycare owners and "asked several questions about scholastics and the academics," he said.

Roberts determined the day cares do not fit the legal description of a schoolhouse which would block a liquor store within 1,000 feet.

Mayberry and the owner of the daycare have appealed the decision to Saline County Circuit Court.
A hearing in the case has not yet been set.
The owner of the liquor store declined to comment for this story.

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