Red wine may be joining Jacksonville's red tomatoes

By Layron Livingston - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

JACKSONVILLE, TX (KLTV) - The push is on to give voters in Jacksonville a chance to decide if alcohol sales should be allowed.  The current plan would clear the way for stores to sell beer and wine for off-premise consumption.

Roy Johnson, owner of CJ's Quick Stop in Jacksonville, said he sells, right now, he sells just about everything, except, booze.   "Jacksonville, in its infinite wisdom, hasn't joined the 21st century," he said.

George Douglas agrees.

"It seems like the stars are lining up for us," he said.  Douglas is now the chairman of a committee working to make the Tomato City, a wet city.

Douglas said the issue is not about morals, but rather, economics.

"We hope people will want to see Jacksonville be progressive, moving forward, and competitive with the surrounding communities," he said.

Back in May, Jacksonville's neighbors to the south voted to make alcohol sales legal in Rusk.  In Smith County, Winona finally went wet after a split election and a court ordered recount.

"It's safe to say that people in Jacksonville are drinking," said Rob Gowin.  Gowin owns Sadler's, a restaurant in Jacksonville which currently does not sell alcohol.

He said residents are enjoying beer and wine, but, that tax revenue is going out of town.

Mayor Robert Haberle said it was an inevitable initiative.  Haberle said the city will remain neutral on the issue.

"If the citizens elect to vote this option down, then we'll move forward," he said.  "If they vote to make this option occur, then we'll move forward and represent them in the best way we know how."

Some residents have already decided.

"[Alcohol's] gotta come someday," said James Schrecengost.

"I wouldn't vote it in," said Jean Arnold.

The committee will have to file an application with Cherokee County officials, and then collect 1,010 signatures to put the issue before Jacksonville voters in May.  The election would allow beer and wine sales for off-premise consumption.

Jacksonville City Manager Mo Raissi said restaurants that are properly licensed by the state can sell alcohol for on-site use.

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