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Going Wet

CANYON -- Though the days of prohibition are long gone, you'd be hard pressed to find a hard drink in some cities on the High Plains. But for cities like Canyon, change may be on the way.
CANYON -- Though the days of prohibition are long gone, you'd be hard pressed to find a hard drink in some cities on the High Plains. But for cities like Canyon, change may be on the way.

"No election has ever successfully voted Canyon wet," said Canyon City Manager Randy Criswell. "I've worked in Canyon for 20 years, it's never come up since then."

But movers and shakers in town may shake up Canyon's dry spell.

"We've had some interests from folks that are property owners, business owners, and developers that have begun to ask some questions about Canyon potentially going wet," said Criswell. "It seems like there's a little more seriousness about it right now than there's ever been since I've been around here."

For the first time in years, there's serious talk about bringing liquor stores into Canyon, but getting the issue on the ballot is going to take a petition.

As for the numbers of signatures on the petition it all depends on exactly where you'd like it passed. For a petition in Canyon, according to the Texas Secretary of State, the number of names should equal 35% of the votes from the 2013 May election. But to make either Randall County Precinct one, or the whole county wet, you take the numbers from the last gubernatorial race in 2010. According to numbers from Randall County, we calculate the magic number of signatures would be:

CANYON: 32 signatures

RANDALL COUNTY PRECINCT ONE: 1,988 signatures

RANDALL COUNTY: 10,925 signatures.
 
Allowing alcohol sales is tough to swallow for some cities, so places like Clarendon are bringing in the experts.

TABC officials were in Clarendon last month, offering insight after the city went wet in the November election.

"They're especially worried in the smaller towns," said TABC Regional Licensing Supervisor Kyle Russell. "They've been dry for so long that they don't know what to do."

"It's good to know what the latest rules and regulations are," said Larry Hicks, Mayor of Clarendon. "The people who use alcohol are gonna get it somewhere, we'd just as soon make a little off of it ourselves."

That's revenue Canyon residents say, they're missing out on.

"What happens actually is students and other's who are of drinking age go to Amarillo," said Canyon resident Steve Bogener. "You tax that stuff you make a lot of money, Canyon is basically giving their tax receipts for alcohol to the city of Amarillo."

Canyon's been high and dry since the beginning, but a mix up may be on the ballot this fall.

"There seems to be some more serious rumblings from some probably more serious individuals," said Criswell. "I kinda expect that we're gonna hear more about this in the coming weeks."

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