A positive vision for Asheboro's future

By Ross Holt

Opponents of Asheboro’s economic and civic vitality spend a lot of time emphasizing the supposed consequences of legalizing and controlling alcohol sales. Let’s take a more realistic look at what might happen to the character of the community.

Both state Alcoholic Beverage Control laws and the city zoning ordinance give local officials plenty of options to ensure that legal sale and control of alcohol promotes the civic virtue of the community, rather than harms it. Establishments that sell alcohol by the drink, for example, are required to realize a significant portion of their revenue from food sales, a measure that discourages the "beer joint" bugaboo that opponents use in their attempt to scare us.

Here’s the most likely scenario for Asheboro. One or two more locally-owned restaurants open downtown, self-sustaining to the extent that they have evening hours and offer meals in the middle price range. They are perfect places to enjoy a quiet dinner before a play at the Sunset or after a concert in Bicentennial Park, or just to have a relaxing meal on a peaceful evening downtown.

Maybe the draw of downtown enables a coffee shop to extend hours into the evening, a place for dessert after dinner or an event, or simply somewhere for friends to meet and enjoy each others’ company.

Meanwhile, major regional or national restaurants locate at the highway interchanges or near the new conference center at the zoo – Outback? Applebees? It’s possible. Locally-owned restaurants that elect not to sell alcohol continue to thrive.

As the economic vitality of the community grows, we see more major retailers locating here, maybe another national discount chain, clothing stores and perhaps another home center. In this era of high gas prices, it means fewer trips to Greensboro for more shopping choices.

Keep in mind that all this economic activity pours sales and property taxes into local coffers, reducing the potential tax burden on local residents. There’s more money for law enforcement, fire protection, parks and recreational activities, the hopsital, substance abuse treatment, the library and local cultural organizations.

All these amenities combines to improve Asheboro’s appeal to emerging industries, enhance our already strong quality of life, keep people (and their spending) in town, and make the area more attractive for young people who grow up here to remain, or return.

Opponents of legal sale and control of alcohol want you to fear change. But the change brought by legalization will be for the better, the mark of a strong, growing community.

A vote for the Referendum to Legalize Alcohol Sales in Asheboro is a vote to ensure the future of our city.