Beer, Wine Sales Pushed In Lindale

Wet or dry.  That's the choice residents of one East Texas town are facing.

Over the past year in the Smith County town of Lindale a group has been pushing a proposal to sell beer and wine in restaurants, convenience stores, and grocery stores.  It's a choice they want voters to decide.

Stop off at Interstate 20 at US 69 in Lindale and you'll find just about anything you need.  You can fill up your tank, grab something to eat, even buy some famous Tyler roses.  But one thing you won't find for sale is beer or wine.

"This is truly about economic development," said John Hatch, President of  Texas Petition Strategies.  "Lindale has a certain stretch of I-20 and that stretch is a prime location."

Hatch was hird by a group called "Lindale Citizens for Better Business" that believes the sale of beer and wine would bring in a ton of money to the city.  They've spent the last week gathering signatures, hoping to prove others feel the same way.

The group is asking for two specific proposals.  First, the sale of beer and wine for off premise consumption, this would include grocery stores and convenience stores.  Also, the sale of mixed drinks by food and beverage certificate holders, typically restaurants.

Moe Snoubar has owned a restaurant in Lindale for 15 years.  He says alcohol has no place in his town.

"A lot of people are against it, they don't want nothing to do with liquor here and I'm against it," he said.

Other residents aren't so sure.  Cathie Campbell believes a positive vote could change the city.

"I feel like it would be a good thing, it would be good growth for the community," she said.

With enough signatures the issue will be decided on by residents.  Right now businesses in Lindale can serve beer, wine and mixed drinks under the "private club" status.  Only a few choose to do so.

As Thursday night, the group had collected the required 282 signatures, meaning the issue will be on the February 5th ballot.

Chris Gibson, reporting