Controversy Brewing Around Alcohol Sales in Levelland Restaurants - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/29/06

Controversy Brewing Around Alcohol Sales in Levelland Restaurants

Levelland is one step closer to legalizing alcohol sales in restaurants. Almost 700 people signed a petition calling for an election on the issue. The signatures have been certified and now it will go before the Hockley County Commissioners' Court to set the election date. But not everyone is in favor of bringing alcohol to Levelland.

"We want to make Levelland grow. We want to make a better community," Bo Bowman says.

Bowman, who's family owns the only liquor store in Hockley County is leading a crusade to legalize alcohol sales inside Levelland restaurants. It's something he believes will boost Levelland's economy. "We need to step up and do what needs to be done to get our community to grow, and I feel like this will be a step in the right direction," Bowman said.

Bowman says it could give people a reason to dine in Levelland by one day bringing restaurants that build in towns where alcohol can be served. "Those people right now they're traveling right on to Lubbock, and we need to be able to stop them here and give them options," Bowman said.

While some say it will help the economy, not everyone agrees. "I do not think that this is a great economic boost for our community; which is, in my opinion, a lie that is sold to the public by people wanting to bring it in," Eddie Trice said.

Trice is the Pastor at South Plains Church in Levelland. He believes legalizing alcohol sales would have an adverse effect on the economy and the community. "I think it will bring a great increase in crime, alcohol related accidents and therefor it will raise the cost of law enforcement from all aspects of it," Trice added.

But it will be up to residents to vote on the issue.

"I think personally, in my opinion, it would hurt our community. I just think that once you start doing that in the restaurants it opens up to do it on the street corner and every where else," said one restaurant goer.

"I think it would be a great thing. They do it in Lubbock and if they (Levelland) ever expect to grow and attract people here they're going to have to do something to bring people," added another.

"I think they need to stay dry. Leave it just like it is now," said one man against the legalization.

"I think it's absolutely necessary. If you're going to grow a town, which I think this town really wants to grow and attract more people and more industry, I think we've got to do it," added a woman in favor of the petition.

Bowan ultimately feels it's not about the alcohol but about more options. "We want better food services because in the evenings were very limited on our food services, and we should be better than that. Levelland deserves better than that," Bowman said.

The issue will be on the Commissioners' agenda for April 10th. It's expected that Levelland residents will vote on this during the November election.

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