Push begins for liquor vote in Amory

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AMORY, Miss. (AP) - A group backing a referendum on possible wine, beer and liquor sales plans to mail out thousands of letters asking residents to back the call for an election to decide the matter.

“I think there will always be negative feedback. We’re willing to place ourselves out there for that,” said Len Pinkley, who, with his wife, Jean, are leaders of the group Let’s Grow Amory.

WTVA reports (http://bit.ly/1cpwZSl) each of the mailouts contains a letter and petitions. They want voters to decide whether Amory should permit the sale of alcoholic beverages as an economic development issue.

“We think that would enhance our community for economic development and recruiting and that’s what we’re here for,” Len Pinkley said.

“We want to grow. We want to progress. We want jobs for our people. We want industries and businesses to come here and find this is an open and welcoming community,” Jean Pinkley said.

This grassroots group claims membership of about 20 people. It argues that Amory needs to change with the times.

Alcohol sales, the group believes, would create new revenue streams that would supplement existing businesses.

An election would be possible only if the group receives signatures from 20 percent of registered voters in Amory.

Backers point to other communities in north Mississippi legalizing the sale of alcoholic beverages, a trend they contend has led to business growth in those areas and is taking money out of Amory.

“They have to drive to neighboring towns to get those things and spend money in other towns. Why not keep the people in town and do it here,” Timothy Holman said.

Others disagree about prospects for an election.

“I don’t think that it will go over real well here. It’s never been a wet county. I don’t think it will be real good. It’s already a wild town,” Michael Cole said.

Business owner Bailey Haney agreed.

“Amory has never been for this nor do I look for them to be for it now,” Haney said.

The Let’s Grow Amory group hopes the issue of alcohol will be decided in a special election that would be called for August.

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