JANET GUTIERREZ: Potential for harm from microdistillery
I am writing in regard to the community of Homer City being asked to allow a distillery to operate with retail sales every day of the week, including Sundays.
I have heard much said about the economic benefits of such an enterprise. It is the only really positive thing that can be said for that enterprise, and one of those proposing to open Disobedient Spirits has declared that his sole reason for opening is to make a profit.
Upon first hearing, that seems reasonable. A profit, of course, is what a business is about. But I believe a community in which said business is about to open should be about more than that.
I think a holistic approach to the welfare of the population should be taken into consideration as well. A business should be asked to be beneficial to the community, as well as be profitable for its owners.
The Homer City Methodist Church adjacent to the Runzo Building is a very active part of the Homer City community. Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, ICAAP food bank, Celebrate Recovery, Family Promise, basketball, volleyball, karate and a community children’s choir are included activities that go on under its roof. I believe it to be a very beneficial influence in town.
The church does not operate for a profit; it is manned mainly by volunteers who give of their time and resources to promote the general welfare in the name of the Lord.
The proximity of this distillery to this church will be a hindrance to every aspect of our community outreach as well as our regular church activities.
Realizing that Disobedient Spirits will not care about that hindrance, I would hope that the Homer City citizens would recognize the church’s contribution to the community and support it in opposition to allowing the opening of this business in such an inappropriate location.
The economic gain may only be minimal but the potential for harm may be much greater than one may see at first glance. Children who are normally unafraid on the streets of this little town may have to take a different attitude. The whole core of this little town’s face will change. Another location, away from the downtown area, would be a much better choice for this distillery.