News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Point Mallard beer sales par for changing course

The Decatur City Council's rezoning of the Point Mallard Golf Course to allow the sale of beer there was a no-brainer.

The measure does not introduce alcohol to a heretofore "dry" zone because golfers brought their own coolers. Beer sales will actually give park officials more control over the consumption of alcohol there.

The change is one of several in Decatur, which continues to play catch-up with the rest of the region on alcohol issues. In November, draft beer sales will come to licensed establishments. That, too, is no major change, as it shifts only the method of delivery of beer from cans and bottles to kegs and frosted mugs.

Critics ask why Decatur must change when the city has done just fine without such measures.

Huntsville and Madison have alcohol sales on Sundays. Athens residents voted in 2003 to allow for the first time alcohol sales of any kind.

Soon, Decatur residents will go to the polls to decide whether to allow Sunday sales. What difference would that make to the city and its residents?

Obviously, it would allow folks to enjoy a glass of wine at a restaurant with Sunday dinner. But more importantly, it would slow the flow of revenue washing away from the city.

Take the golf course beer sales as an example. While the measure will generate $40,000 annually in beer sales at Point Mallard, based on 15,000 rounds of golf and two beers per person, that is only the tip of the iceberg.

Point Mallard is one of the premier public courses in the area. Some groups that previously went elsewhere for tournaments and conventions will now choose Point Mallard. That means more greens fees, hotel bookings, restaurant business and fuel tax.

Now apply that to the larger scale of the entire city. Decatur has a wealth of delights to entice out-of-towners to visit, including parks and recreational facilities, the Tennessee River, festivals, restaurants, clean air and friendly people. But lack of Sunday sales compels some potential visitors to take their money for hotel rooms, restaurant dining and gasoline down the road rather than stop here. It also prompts many of our own to cross the river on Sundays.

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