Next Tuesday New Albany voters will decide a simple issue: whether to permit the sale of wine and spirits within the city limits.
But we think the ramifications of the vote will have a significant effect in coming years on New Albany. Will the city attract its share of new residents and businesses as our region grows or will most all of that growth tip toward Tupelo as it does now?
To us, the issue does not revolve around whether people in New Albany will drink alcohol. Some do and some don’t. It’s a personal decision; the vote likely will have no effect on it.
To us, this is a simple business decision. We need to attract more people, more shops and more restaurants. It helps fill our city coffers with tax money and keeps our property taxes low.
Opponents of the sale of wine and spirits say New Albany is too small to attract national chain restaurants. They quote a web site that purports to say national chain restaurants require at least 100,000 people within a 15-minute drive of the restaurant. If that were the only criteria, of course, Tupelo would have none of the restaurants.
Their argument is false. Small towns on major highways do get chain restaurants. Just down the road in Batesville, which has a smaller population than New Albany, is a Chili’s. There are small towns all over America with chain restaurants.
Voters should not be misled. We will get more restaurants. We will be in a better position to attract our share of new residents and new businesses.
A vote “For” on Tuesday makes good economic sense. It’s time to move ahead.