MALVERN, Ark. — A volunteer group in Hot Spring County is working to get the controversial wet/dry issue on the November ballot.

There's been confusion in Hot Spring County for a long time, and THV11 dug into it in February 2019.

We learned there's not official proof of whether an election ever happened to make it a dry county, but it’s been operating as one.

"I was blown away of the beauty of this whole area in Arkansas,” said Bob Barrett, a Malvern man who’s lived there for three years.

Barrett said everything is great in his area, but living in a dry county, with what he said has much to offer, is disappointing.

"There's thousands of people like me who want to see this community prosper,” said Barrett.

Barrett was one of the first to sign a petition to get a wet/dry vote on the November ballot.

It's spearheaded by the group Committee for Progress For Hot Spring County.

"The biggest reason we are trying to do this is for the economic benefit of our county,” said Paul Helberg. “We've had studies done and by going wet, we could generate roughly $9 million in sales.”

But, the group faces opposition.

THV11 spoke to a few people off-camera who are not for the petition.

Many of their concerns are with the safety issues a wet county could bring to their hometown.

“We do have organized opposition against us,” said Helberg. “A certain number of churches oppose it. We have people who've had bad experiences oppose alcohol in the county."

As the challenge comes, the group needs 7,000 signatures on the petition to get the wet/dry issue on the ballot.

So far, they have over 600 verified signatures.

"I've got grandchildren coming up. We want them to have the kind of place they can live and work,” said Helberg.

If you want to sign the petition or help collect signatures, the group meets every Thursday night at 6 p.m. at 1721 Martin Luther King Boulevard, Suite M, in Malvern.

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