New Wilmington community celebrates end of the prohibition era

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New Wilmington has been a dry town ever since the prohibition, but Saturday that all changed

LAWRENCE CO., Pa. (WKBN) – The prohibition era happened nearly 100 years ago and while many places have changed their laws and started allowing alcohol, a community in Mercer County has been a dry town ever since.

On Saturday, that all changed.

A dozen of community members celebrated the end of the prohibition era in New Wilmington.

“It’s been a long time coming. There have been others who have tried and failed to make the law change in this town and change New Wilmington from a dry to a wet borough,” said Todd Ulicny, owner of the Tavern on the Square.

Tavern on the Square is now the only restaurant with a liquor license in New Wilmington. In 2019, Ulicny led a community campaign to end the borough’s alcohol ban.

“We want this to be the start of creating a dining scene in New Wilmington. We know that it’s going to improve tax revenue. We know it’s going to increase employment here in this town,” said Ulicny.

Customers at the restaurant will now have the chance to enjoy an alcoholic beverage with their meals.

Mayor Sherie Babb is hoping this is the first step to making New Wilmington a tourist town again.

“I’ve been trying to expand this town, bring new businesses in, and it’s been a struggle, like a lot of small towns. The businesses are just not here anymore, so I hope it opens up to a new restaurant or other new restaurants,” said Babb.

The change is not just in restaurants. Community members say this could be the start of something bigger for the town.

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