Longview group forms to promote business expansion

LONGVIEW (KYTX) - A group of citizens has announced the formation of the "Longview United for Growth Committee," a special purpose political action committee, to ask voters to support limited alcohol sales for the current boundaries of Longview.

Longview United for Growth will need to collect approximately 6,000 signatures of registered Longview voters on a petition calling for the election in May 2013.

The petition will allow a vote for the legal sale of beer and wine for off-premise consumption only. This will only allow beer and wine sales in businesses such as grocery and convenience stores but will not allow additional package liquor sales or liquor stores, except those already approved by voters in previous elections.

Currently, Longview alcohol sales are based on elections held after Prohibition that legalized alcohol sales on the southern and eastern part of the city to the Gregg-Harrison county line. In 2007, Longview citizens voted to allow mixed beverage alcohol sales in restaurants.

Longview United feels the economic development of northern and western parts of Longview are being hampered because beer/wine off-premise sales are not allowed on most of the Loop 281 northern corridor from approximately Tryon Road East to Harrison Road West. Changing this law would allow those areas to be able to recruit more supermarkets and grocery stores, allow the existing grocery stores to compete with stores in the ‘wet' area and would also bring east Longview under the same rules.

"I've been engaged with economic development issues in West Longview for some time and have come to realize our growth is limited due to the fact, in this area of the city, we're ‘dry.' People in Longview tell me they want more and better grocery stores and convenience stores and more competition to drive development," said Kimberly Fish of Longview United for Growth.

"In order to do that, we need to equalize the opportunities within the city of Longview and make every part of the city open to potential new grocery stores and convenience stores. In order to do that, we need a Longview United for Growth committee to offer a voting opportunity to bring about change. We'll need about 6,000 registered voters to want this change too, in order to put it on the May ballot."

Based on a 2008 report by Texas Economist Ray Perryman, which determined the economic impact of these elections, allowing off-premise beer and wine and restaurant sales in a city the size of Longview could create as much as $42 million in annual spending, over 400 jobs and nearly $1 million per year in local sales tax revenues. However, these numbers are based on the entire Longview population—not just the ‘wet' portion, so this number could be substantially less.

Click here for a map of the local wet dry areas.


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