Dear Editor,

In today’s global economy, cities and counties compete for population, workforce, visitors and tourists. We no longer compete with the communities just down the road, but with areas all over the globe.

People in this day and age vote with their feet and with their pocketbooks. They choose to live and play in areas which provide them with adequate amenities to support their recreational and leisure lifestyles.

For Garvin County to remain economically competitive, we must create an environment in which these lifestyle amenities are available.

An abundance of available jobs doesn’t guarantee increased population, and neither does having an abundance of available housing.

Individuals, couples and families in today’s highly mobile society are drawn to those places offering experiential lifestyle amenities.

The Garvin County Citizens for Economic Development (GCCED) have launched an initiative petition drive to have a critical economic development question placed on an upcoming election ballot for a county-wide referendum.

The nature of this question would be to allow on-premises consumption of alcohol in controlled environments.

This petition drive will be collecting signatures of Garvin County registered voters who want to decide this issue for themselves.

Currently, we lose significant sales tax revenues to communities surrounding Garvin County. Our citizens must travel up to an hour away in order to increase the number of dining options from which to choose.

The successful passage of this initiative will open the doors for well-known establishments and other forms of businesses within the hospitality industry to consider expanding into Garvin County.

Any effort at economic development is focused on creating the right environment. Businesses have to make decisions based on what is good for their bottom line, but they won’t even consider locating in a place where they can’t operate their successful business model (i.e. chains such as Applebee’s, Chill’s, Olive Garden, etc.).

The GCCED intends to send a message that Garvin County is open for business.

There will be some who may communicate an opposing viewpoint. Some people may try to make this a religious issue - it is not.

The Bible speaks over and over about not indulging to an excess...but does not outright condemn consumption of alcoholic beverages. It warns of drunkenness.

There will also be some who choose to oppose economic development in Garvin County, citing myths such as increased driving under the influence or underage consumption. Law enforcement officials and the ABLE Commission do NOT have enforcement powers in areas where a “prohibition” stance is in effect.

The goal of this initiative is to expand our family dining options and increase the amenities offered to our county’s citizens, visitors and tourists.

For example, a new winery is opening this summer in Garvin County, and would be able to offer tours that include wine tasting. To most travelers, that is expected in a winery.

Our current “prohibition” stance prevents that possibility.

The GCCED is concerned about the current perceptions we create in Garvin County, and want to improve and enhance guest experiences.

Over the next several months, you may be asked if you would like to sign a petition.

Signing the petition does NOT indicate your support of or opposition to this initiative.

When you sign the petition, you are simply stating that you believe that the citizens of Garvin County have the right to decide this in an open election for themselves - that they are free to choose the outcome of the future of Garvin County.

The Garvin County Citizens for Economic Development believe it is time to create an environment in which business development can occur. We hope you will join with us in support of this initiative.

Glenn Prater

Garvin County Citizens

for Economic Development

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