Praying Against Liquor By The Drink

Sweetwater, Monroe County (WVLT) - Supporters say it will bring in revenue, residents, and nationally known restaurants.

But some Sweetwater residents are hoping a little prayer goes a long way toward keeping liquor by the drink out of their community.

Sweetwater residents turned out at the downtown gazebo for a prayer rally, praying not for something but against alcohol coming to the restaurants in their town.

"We want our children to grow up here without the influence of alcohol as much as possible,” says Barbara Raby.

On the June ballot, voters will decide if they want liquor by the drink. Rally officials say liquor by the drink will bring with it social problems.

"This doesn't just affect those restaurants that might come into Sweetwater if this passes. It will affect immediately beer sales on Sunday,” says Phil Roy, rally co-chariman.

Proponents of the referendum say it's all economic, citing the lack of growth on their interstate exit ramp, a lack of nationally known restaurants to attract growth while citing one leaving the area.

"It doesn't mean that every restaurant there is a restaurant that serves alcohol but it does make a significant difference when site selection people are looking at interstate windows for opportunity,” says Carolyn Beatty from Sweetwater Alliance for Smart Growth.

Two out of town visitors were surprised there wasn't liquor by the drink in Sweetwater.

"Certainly for people coming through town they are much more likely to stop at a restaurant if they know they can get something to drink there,” says Tim Robinson.

"We're down here kinda looking around for a place to retire and I think that would be, you know, we would like to be able to get a drink if we go out for dinner,” adds Carol Robinson.

But both sides feel it's a crucial vote.

"If the people don't get out and vote we're beat,” says Roy.

"We feel that holding Sweetwater back at this point is really what will happen if we don't pass it,” Beatty says.

Voters will decide the issue at the polls on June 14th. We'll have the result of that vote, on Volunteer TV.