Pearl voters approve liquor and wine sales - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Pearl voters approve liquor and wine sales

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PEARL, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Pearl residents petitioned to vote on liquor sales and Tuesday they cast their ballots.

When the polls closed the measure passed overwhelming.

There was a steady stream of voters participating in the Special Election on Resort Status near Trustmark Park in Pearl.

It would allow restaurants to serve liquor and wine by the glass, if they make 70 percent of their income from food sales.

"We've lived without for all these years. I think we can live without. If it passes that's fine," said Betty Sue Roberts of Pearl.

"I think that it's something that should pass," said Pearl voter Tom Logue. "I think it will help us with tax revenue. I don't think it will be detrimental to the community."

The Resort Status Area is west of and adjoining Pearson Road.

At the heart is Trustmark Park.

Management at the Holiday Inn Alumni Sports Grill supports the measure.

"As of right now I think the beer sales are at six to 10% of our sales. I think that would increase," said Bennie White, manager of the Holiday Inn Alumni House Sports Grill. "I deal with a lot of guests from out of town and all they want is liquor."

"They can go to Jackson and buy their whiskey," said voter Tom Ware. "It's not so far, and there'd be less accidents around here. If it raises the tax money it's gonna all go the officials anyway."

"I voted yes of course, but I think it will bring a lot of money in for our city," said Trish Kinnebrew, who has lived in Pearl four years.

Some businesses have shown interest in moving to the city if the measure passes.

"I have had calls to the community development office regarding opportunities in the area and a lot of calls from businesses asking about the vote," said Pearl Mayor Brad Rogers.

But some residents have concerns.

"I don't drink," said James Holden after casting his vote. "So I don't think it's necessary, and besides it causes more crime. They can say what they want to, it does."

"Pearl is a good place to live as it is and I'm just worried that we bring in liquor, and all that then we've got to worry about the crime rate and things going up," said six year resident Julie Thornton.

Mayor Rogers doesn't see crime as a concern and said his police force is more than capable of tackling crime as it does on a daily basis.

According to Pearl officials, there are about 28,000 residents with approximately 14,000 registered voters.

"The majority will win tonight, and we'll deal with the hand that we're dealt," Rogers said.

Preliminary results show 65 percent voted for liquor sales with 35 percent against.

Approximately 3,000 votes were cast in the special election.

Pearl resort area liquor and wine sales could begin in 60 to 90 days.

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