Weatherford Democrat

Aledo ExtrA

June 11, 2014

Mayor's breakfast spotlights alcohol, roads

WEATHERFORD — By JUDY SHERIDAN

Aledo Mayor Kit Marshall updated area businesses on alcohol sales and road projects in a ‘Rise and Dine’ breakfast last week at the Aledo Community Center.

Marshall said the city will benefit economically from the liquor propositions voters passed in the May 10 election, one permitting restaurants to serve mixed beverages and the other allowing convenience stores to sell beer and wine for off-premise consumption.

“From an economic development point of view it’s pretty huge,” she explained, saying restaurants that once bypassed Aledo will now reevaluate.

“We were never looking for bars; bars do not fit in our community. But restaurants with the ability to sell mixed beverages do fit. We’re losing a lot of those sales tax dollars to our surrounding cities.”

Marshall told business owners that the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission will regulate all aspects of the city’s liquor sales.

She invited comments from Constable Scott Jones, a former employee of the TABC, who warned against late-hour permits. Extending alcohol consumption in a restaurant until 2 a.m. can create a bar-like setting, Jones said, and spur additional calls for fire and police.

 In response to a question about whether Aledo had done a site study to identify opportunities, Marshall said Aledo had an inventory based on its strategic plan. She said a professional analyst serves on the board of the city’s Economic Development Corporation.  

“People who are involved in commercial development sometimes look at those of use working in the government — outside the big cities — as uninformed and lacking in knowledge in economic development,” she said, “and in the City of Aledo that’s not true.

“Sometimes people will start a business — without even coming to talk to staff first — and they wind up in the wrong place or maybe it’s the wrong type of business for the city. It’s incumbent on business owners to do their own studies as well.”

Marshall referred future questions to city secretary Deana McMullen, who said later that she received several calls soon after the May 10 election.

One restaurant — Maria Bonita’s — and two gas station/convenience stores are now in the process of obtaining permits to sell alcohol, she said, a process that takes 45-60 days according to the TABC website.

The mayor talked about the different ways the city’s 300-foot distance requirement — allowed by state statute — is measured between businesses that sell alcohol and places like churches, hospitals and schools.

  “When we start talking about the measurement — the distance between the place of business where alcoholic beverages are sold and the church or hospital — it’s along the property line of street fronts and front door to front door, in a direct line across intersections,” she said.

In contrast, the distances from schools are measured in a straight line from property line to property line and in a direct line across intersections, she said.

 

Road construction projects

Marshall reported a July 15 date for the completion of Aledo Trail, slightly later than the late June/July 1 date estimated by County Project Manager Joel Kertok in April. At that time Kertok reported that McMahon Contracting was not projected to meet its April 27 contract date, attributing the delay to issues with the relocation of AT&T lines and the weather.

Monday, Marshall said the delays have also been caused by people “walking off the job,” which Kertok confimed, saying he thought McMahon had experienced problems with work crews leaving for other companies/jobs.

Marshall said the July 15 target date would include the grounds inside the couplet, which contains debris and equipment as a result of its use as a staging area.

The FM 1187 reconstruction is estimated to be finished in September. Marshall said businesses on the north end “are struggling because of the challenges getting into them,” explaining that people accustomed to approaching a business one way seldom think of a different way when their regular route is blocked.

TxDOT will regulate the number of entrances into the business corridor after the median is constructed, she said, based on safety.

Marshall said the city is waiting to see if the county will use transportation bond funds to extend the concrete east on North Front Street. She said businesses would not be affected, in response to the concerns of one business owner, who pointed out that the road had been closed for six weeks.

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