Arlington awaiting word on whether wine sales petitions are valid

Posted Tuesday, Apr. 23, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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ARLINGTON -- The petitions are in, and now Arlington is awaiting word on whether they contain enough valid signatures to force an election in November on permanent wine sales at Rangers Ballpark.

Last week, the Texas Rangers submitted nearly 2,950 pages of signatures to the city secretary's office, which turned them over to Tarrant County election officials.

The county workers must verify whether the petitions contain 22,068 certified signatures of registered voters, City Secretary Mary Supino said.

The petitions call for an election that would ask voters to allow the sale of wine throughout the ballpark, which would be more convenient for fans.

Since last season, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has allowed the Rangers to sell wine on a temporary basis for fans to drink in certain seating areas. But that waiver will end after this season if the election is not successful, officials have said.

"We believe we have enough signatures, but the city will have to verify that," said Rick George, the Rangers' business operations president.

"As it relates to the fan experience and benefit to the organization, it is basically a customer service issue for us. We want a consistent and responsible regulation of alcohol sales for our fans."

If voters approve, the initiative would also allow for wine or liquor stores to open in Arlington, Assistant City Attorney David Barber said. Residents can now buy wine and beer at grocery stores.

The team is also working with lawmakers to change the rules so that fans can carry their drinks -- whether beer, wine or mixed beverages -- from one level to another.

The ballpark's liquor permits restrict where certain beverages can be bought and consumed, meaning a fan can't buy a beer on the concourse level and take it to the upper level.

House Bill 893 by Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, would change all that, enabling fans to roam throughout the ballpark with drinks they legally bought inside the stadium.

George endorsed the bill last month at a hearing of the House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee.

This report includes material from Star-Telegram archives.

Susan Schrock, 817-709-7578

Twitter: @susanschrock

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