Alcohol movement: Who's next?

SMITH COUNTY (KYTX) -  The Smith County and Tyler community has been known as one of the largest and "driest" areas in the entire country.

That's all changed in the past few years with the passage of alcohol propositions in Tyler and neighboring towns.

Tuesday night, voters approved bringing beer and wine to Smith County Justice of the Peace Precincts 1 and 4.

On election night, we told you about a national retailer who was eyeing a spot at Loop 323 and Highway 31 in precinct 4, if beer and wines sales were approved.

Our sources tell us Walmart is that national retailer who wants to build here.

We contacted the City of Tyler and we received this response in regards to Walmart:

"They have not filed for any building permits yet. They have previously applied for a clearing and grading permit, which is currently under review."

"If they look at an area and see it's dry, it's immediately pushed back off the list . Because that means hassle. That means paper work. That means less revenue," said Tom Mullins. 

Tom Mullins with the Tyler Economic Development Council says alcohol has been a business barrier for many years.

"It also impacted things like attracting conferences and conventions. It was a barrier that needed to be pushed down for years and we've finally broken through," said Mullins. 

Mullins says it's all about economics.

Since the City of Tyler started allowing beer and wine in it's stores, the sales tax revenue has been noticeable.

"The City of Tyler says it's an additional $40,000 every month coming into the City of Tyler that they didn't have before," explained Mullins. 

We asked Mullins, for those areas, such as Lindale, that don't have alcohol, is it a possibility they might go wet now that everyone around them has made the choice?

"We've already had some discussions with some people up in that area who are saying we needed to capture that revenue, too. They say we're going to lose it to Tyler, Winona and even Mineola," said Mullins.

We spoke with Smith County representatives.

They say, no official groups, in JP precincts 3 and 5 have come forward with petitions for alcohol elections.

We're told stores in precincts 1 and 4 could have alcohol on their shelves after the first of the year.




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