Lindale and the rest of Smith County Justice of the Peace Precinct 5 will see beer and wine hitting grocery store shelves after voters approved two alcohol options at the polls on Tuesday.
Residents in the precinct, which includes Lindale, Hideaway, Mount Sylvan, Garden Valley and Swan, voted on two alcohol propositions. The precinct was the final dry holdout in the county.
The first proposition allows for the sale of beer and wine for off premise consumption in gas stations and grocery stores. The measure was approved by 57.8 percent of voters, or 3,897 ballots, compared to 42.2 percent, or 2,848 ballots, against the measure, according to complete but unofficial results.
Proposition 2 will allow for the sale of mixed beverages in restaurants with a food and beverage permit. The measure was passed by 65.6 percent of voters, or 4,377 ballots, for it compared to 34.4 percent, or 2,299 residents, in opposition.
Two stores already sell wine in Lindale, and several restaurants sell mixed beverages with private club designations.
Jim Mallory, former Lindale mayor with the pro-alcohol group Committee For Economic Growth, said he was pleased with the election results, but said he hoped the divided community would come back together on Wednesday morning.
“This will not change anything dramatically, except (bring in more) revenue for our city …” he said. “Smith County is now completely solid in how businesses are treated (in terms of alcohol regulations). In my opinion, that is the major outcome of this election.”
Mallory said the added sales tax income would help take the taxing burden off rooftops as it grew, but gave special credit to previous city leaders who helped push the city’s growth toward Interstate 20.
“We are so fortunate to be on Interstate 20,” he said. “The leadership of Lindale in the past has made that possible, and they worked very hard some time ago to establish Lindale on Interstate 20. We can say that we have accomplished a great deal with this election, but if the people before us hadn’t had the foresight that they did, there would be no reason to do this.”
Joe Don Terry, president of the opposition group Keep Lindale Uniquely Dry, said he was disappointed in the outcome of the election but appreciated residents turning out to vote their convictions.
“I personally think it will be detrimental to Lindale and I hate to see the change …” he said. “It will change our community, and that is what I hate to see. I’ve lived here 62 years.”
The pro-group, which garnered the required signatures to place them on the ballot, raised significantly more money than the opposition. The committee for economic growth raked in over $61,000 in contributions compared to the uniquely dry’s budget of just over $17,500.
“We were outspent 5 to 1,” Terry said. “It’s tragic for some families down the road, and I hate to see that.”