Volunteers are continuing to solicit signatures for three liquor option petitions in Worthington's Precinct 4A.

Volunteers are continuing to solicit signatures for three liquor option petitions in Worthington's Precinct 4A.

The petition drive began last weekend and will continue until more than enough signatures are collected, said Bonnie Michael, one of the volunteers.

Worthington's Community Improvement Corp. (CIC) needs 155 signatures on each petition to meet an Aug. 8 deadline for placing four liquor options on the ballot in the November election.

The CIC is preparing to rent the city-owned Kilbourne Memorial Library building, also known as the 752 Building, on the northeast quadrant of the Village Green.

The site would be more attractive to a restaurant if a liquor license were available, CIC chairman Tom Dalcolma said.

The precinct is dry, except for the sale of carryout in packages. It includes High Street, from Granville Road to Worthington-Galena Road.

Only those who live in the precinct may sign the petitions and vote on the ballot issue.

The CIC is seeking permits for the sale of beer, wine, mixed drinks and to sell on Sundays. Three petitions are needed because wine and mixed drinks are combined on one.

Leasing the building to a restaurant would be more likely if a liquor license were available because most restaurants that might be interested in the site would want to serve drinks with their food, Dalcolma said.

"Without a liquor option, we would not have the ability to get the highest and best use for this property," he said.

A restaurant that serves drinks would be a good fit, but a bar that serves only alcohol is not what the CIC has in mind, Dalcolma said. "We're going to take our time to get the right tenant," he said.

The city purchased the vacant building in 2006 for $500,000 and has poured an additional $330,000 into repairs. More upgrades are needed, according to a recent memo from assistant city manager Robyn Stewart.

The CIC, whose members are appointed by Worthington City Council, is handling the leasing for the city. The state provides more flexible regulations regarding the purchase and leasing of city property to CICs.

"Our main goal is to find a use for the Kilbourne building that will provide activity and energy for the Green and downtown area that is compatible with the culture of Worthington and provides a sound investment for the city," Dalcolma said.

With several new businesses that already have occupied storefronts in downtown Worthington and more ready to move in, this is a good time to find a tenant for the 752 Building, council member Bonnie Michael said.

"We've got good momentum going there now, and I would really like to keep it going," she said.

Michael represents council on the CIC and emphasizes that it is the CIC, not the city, that is seeking the liquor option.

She walked door to door, collecting signatures on the weekend of July 21 and 22, and said most people were receptive to the idea of allowing liquor sales at the 752 Building.

"Most people said they can't wait to have someplace else to walk to," she said.