Longview pro-development group turns in signatures for wet-dry vote

LONGVIEW/GREGG COUNTY (KYTX) - A Longview pro-development group turned in close to 9,000 signatures at Longview City Hall this morning, petitioning for off-premise beer and wine sales throughout the city limits.

City of Longview officials will have 30 days to verify the signatures before the petitions must be presented at the next regular meeting of the city council in February. If the required number of valid signatures - about 6,000 signatures - has been reached, officials are required to put the local option on the May ballot.

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

The petition allows 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.

"I'm very interested in revitalizing a corner of our city called the Pine Tree/Greggton area, and in seeking out revitalization efforts, we realized that a major stumbling block to getting revitalization in our area was the wet-dry issue," said Kimberly Fish, spokeswoman for Longview United for Growth. "So in pursuing this, we know that, immediately upon its passing, we're going to have opportunities in the Pine Tree, Greggton, Spring Hill and other areas that are dry to see brand new convenience stores come in and not only the current grocery stores to be remodeled and reinvested in, but to have new grocery stores come in, because quite frankly, in this market, no grocery store is going to move into an area that is dry."


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