Cordele votes on liquor bill - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Cordele votes on liquor bill

March 21, 2006

Cordele -- In The World's Watermelon Capital, you can order beer or wine at a restaurant, but not a mixed drink. Even though liquor is sold in package stores there, it's not sold by the drink. That may change, though, if voters approve a referendum.

More than 100 people voted last week during advanced voting and about 70 people an hour have been filing into the Crisp County courthouse on this hot topic. Those against the vote say liquor by the drink will increase DUI's and drunkenness, but supporters say it will move Cordele forward.

Craig Beatty isn't a drinker, and he doesn't encourage others to drink, but his view on liquor by the drink may surprise you. "I'm hoping to get a yes vote."

He says a vote yes will allow progress. "We've got a lot of big industry and a lot of nationally known restaurants and retail outlets that do not come into markets without having this available."

But not everyone wants to toast Beatty on the issue. Evelyn Swain says, "A lot of religious people go in there and eat and they won't go in there if there's liquor."

Even though wine and beer are already allowed in restaurants, liquor can only be bought at package stores.

Judy Castleberry says, "There's just a lot of bad things that come from alcohol. The Bible strictly preaches against this, says this is wrong."

Not biblical according to Castleberry, but could it be practical? Bob Norcott says "If we don't pass it here in Cordele, somewhere else along interstate 75 will pass it, and all that tourism business will go there, and I'd like to see it stop here in Cordele."

"Let's don't forget that this will bring in more tax money and Cordele needs a lot of things and this will help us to provide a better city for everyone," said Vicki Norcutt.

But not everyone agrees on this heated subject-- one that's been voted on twice before in Cordele-- but perhaps this time, with a different outcome.

Supporters say the referendum needs to be approved because the city loses business by not selling mixed drinks in restaurants.

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