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Split, Sunday liquor approved in Blackduck

The votes are in.

The city of Blackduck will become a “split liquor” city, but first the Blackduck City Council has a few more hoops to jump through.

Before the city can issue any licenses, it will have to draft a liquor licensing ordinance that must be approved by the City Council. Following the approval of the draft, the ordinance will have to be made public for 60 days before it can officially be voted on by the council.

If the council approves, the city will be allowed to issue four private on-sale licenses. If four was to be exceeded another election would have to be held.

The number of licenses a city is allowed to issue is based on population. Blackduck sits between the 500 and 2,500 range.

The council was hopeful to have a draft written by their next regular meeting, which is set for April 7.

The city of Blackduck was the first city in Minnesota to vote to become a split liquor city in 40 years, according the Minnesota House of Representatives House Research Department. In 1974, eight cities voted and in 1973, three cities voted on the matter. Detroit Lakes, Thief River Falls and Grand Rapids are among the cities listed to have split liquor.

The special election was held Monday, March 10 to determine if the city would be allowed to issue private on-sale licenses for the sale of intoxicating liquor to hotels, restaurants and clubs

The ballot featured two questions. The first asked about private on-sale licenses and the second asked if the city should be allowed to issue on-sale licenses to restaurants, clubs and hotels for the sale of intoxicating liquor at retail on Sundays.

Of the 317 voters in the precinct, 32 votes came in. That includes two absentee ballots.

“If anything, it’s just sad that less than 10 percent of the registered voters showed up,” said Mayor Daryl Lundberg when the public hearing to declare the election results on March 17 was opened for discussion.

Of the 32 votes, 22 voted to approve split and Sunday liquor and 10 voted against both.

Hotels, restaurants and clubs

To issue a licence to a restaurant, meals will have to be regularly prepared for furnished guests, as opposed to being assembled or reheated, according to a Minnesota statute. Food must be served on the premises and served at tables to the general public, having a minimum seating capacity for guests as prescribed by city ordinance.

The council would also be able to issue licenses to hotels. Lodging would have to be provided at the establishment and it must also contain a dining room that serves to the general public. The hotel must have seating for at least 30 guests at one time.

A “club” is defined as an incorporated organization organized under the laws of the state for civic, fraternal, social, or business purposes, for intellectual improvement, or for the promotion of sports or a congressionally chartered veterans’ organization.

Jillian Gandsey

Jillian Gandsey is the Multimedia Editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. She is an Iron Range native and a 2013 graduate of Bemidji State University. Follow Jillian on Twitter and Instagram @jilliangandsey. Contact her at 218-333-9786, 218-996-1216 or at 

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