Iowa Park Group Pushing Precinct 3 to go Wet

Tim Sheppard is a cabinet maker by trade, and political activist by choice.

Sheppard is spokesman for the group "Citizens to Keep Tax Dollars in Iowa Park".

Their goal is to turn the last dry area in Wichita County, Precinct 3, into a wet precinct.

"A lot of the folks say it's going to bring crime, it's going to bring domestic violence, it's going to bring underage drinking, it's going to bring all the problems that alcohol brings," said Sheppard, "With alcohol only being 4 or 5 miles up the road, those problems are here."

What isn't here, according to Sheppard, are the tax dollars the precinct is missing out on from not allowing alcohol sales.

"The sources that I talked to in the Burkburnett area," explained Sheppard, "they went wet approximately a year and a half ago, the sources I talked to told me their tax base has almost doubled since they went wet."

Sheppard said much of that money is literally driving down the highway.

Jeremiah Stevens runs Rafter J's BBQ with his father.

The restaurant does sell alcohol, in fact it's the only one in town to do so and the first since the 1940's, but customers have to buy a membership first.

Stevens said that's costing him money.

"Get a lot of people from out of town that stop here from off the highway one time," said Stevens, "and they don't want to pay 10 bucks for a membership and never come back. We would be selling quite a bit to them."

Not only is he losing revenue, Stevens said he also has to spend time keeping track of all those memberships, or risk paying thousands in fines.

Stevens said if the measure were to pass in May, it wouldn't just be his business benefiting, but the entire precinct.

"They could just stay here, spend that money here on taxes, and that money they'd be spending on gas they can spend here," said Stevens, "So just all the way around, I think it would help out."

Reporters Notes by Ryan Robertson:

Tim Sheppard said he needs just a couple hundred more signatures to meet the minimum requirements to get the measure on the May ballot.

KFDX did speak to a few people in Iowa Park who were against the town going wet, but they all declined to be interviewed.

For more information about the "Citizens to Keep Tax Dollars in Iowa Park," you can call them at 940-249-3218, or click here.

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