East Texas communities prepare for beer, wine on Tuesday's ballo - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

East Texas communities prepare for beer, wine on Tuesday's ballot

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SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - With just hours until election day, numerous items are waiting to be decided on at both the state and local level. There are nine statewide constitutional amendments on the ballot Tuesday.

Locally, various bond elections are waiting for approval for area school districts and counties. Several local communities are also waiting to voice their choice on alcohol sales in their communities.

Two of those alcohol propositions are in Smith County where communities who sell alcohol are now the majority. However, some people say the election is less about beer and wine and more about the retail opportunities a 'wet' community has to gain.

"As far as you can see down the road, almost to Kilgore, there's nothing on this side of town," says Ed Thompson of North Chase Development.

Thompson is a local developer who says the northern and eastern parts of Smith County have so much potential for economic growth.

"A major national retailer is considering a location there, but it's very connected to the potential for beer and wine sales," says Tom Mullins, the president and CEO of the Tyler Economic Development Council.

If beer and wine sales are approved for off-premise consumption, Thompson has high hopes that the 42 acres sitting at the corner of East Front Street and Loop 323 will become home to Tyler's fourth Walmart.

"By bringing that retail, that gives me, as a developer, an incentive to come in and do housing," says Thompson.

In August, the Tyler City Council approved a zoning change making the plot of land a general commercial district. While no building permits have been filed yet, approving beer and wine sales could change that.

"There are certain types of retailers that won't come into your area if it's a dry area. Some grocery chains don't want to be at a disadvantage and not have the ability to generate extra revenues for beer and wine sales," says Mullins.

The same struggle is taking place on the other side of the county in precinct 1. There, convenience stores are hoping to see the beer and wine referendum pass, too.

"What we're hoping to do is level the playing the field," says Thompson.

With stores on the dry strip of land between Tyler and Chandler, some Kidd Jones locations are missing out on the extra revenue their neighbors have.

"We're just hoping that the people give us a chance to have the sales at our stores as some of our competitors," says Greg Kidd, the Vice President of Kidd Jones Convenience Stores.

Many East Texans will see beer and wine referendums on their ballots tomorrow. Some of those cities include Winnsboro, Carthage and Pittsburg are just a few.

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