Leona voters could overturn city liquor restrictions on election day

LEONA, Tex. (KBTX) – A developer wants residents in Leona to decide whether or not the city should stay dry.

If the initiative passes, it would allow businesses to sell alcohol for consumption off premises, within the city limits.

Leona sits along interstate 45, one exit north of Normangee. It has just a handful of shops and restaurants.

A company who purchased land near the Leona exit is hoping to build a travel center by the interstate.

"It's called mainstream market," said Joni Seale, city council member. "They will have a convenience store, a grocery store a hardware store, a True Value, and maybe a feed store."

But the developer, Petroleum Wholesale, wants to sell alcohol and right now because the city is dry they can't.

Tuesday, the city is holding a liquor election. Seale says the election is about more than the sale of alcohol.

"This will increase revenue and it's going to bring people into the city," said Seale.

However, not everyone wants the truck stop in town. Sky Almaguer, a resident who lives across from the proposed travel center, says the travel center isn't necessary and the 24-hour center would take away from the small town feel.

"All they really want it seems is to sell alcohol," said Almaguer. "Madisonville is already wet so people are going to travel there any way to go to the bank, to go to school and go to work they don't need to travel here. "

The company who owns the land hasn't said whether a failed election would stop construction.

Election officials say there have been two previous liquor elections that would have included the city of Leona but those failed. This is the first election in recent years solely for the city.