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Cambria is growing — in numbers and in community spirit, says Robin McFarlin, village trustee.

CAMBRIA — Two years ago, Cambria Village Board voted not to allow alcohol sales within city limits. Now the village board is rethinking their decision.

On April 4, Cambria voters will decide whether or not to allow the retail sale of alcoholic liquor in the village, overturning that decision.

“Recently, we realized we need alcohol sales to get gas stations to come into the village,” Village President Steve Gottschalk said.

Before the Mini Mart Gas Station closed, the owner asked the city to allow the sale of alcohol within the city limits because it would bring the business additional revenue. The station was Cambria’s only gas station.

Since then, two other gas stations have approached the city about locating in Cambria. Both asked if the village allowed the sale of alcohol.

It’s hard to get a gas station to come to a small town because the sales are smaller, but if they can get another way to increase revenue, that might help,” Gottschalk said.

Board members discussed the issue, and they decided that it is time to change that ordinance and increase revenue by getting a gas station in the village. They have explained to residents that alcohol might be required to get a gas station.

Gottschalk believes most residents support the retail sale of alcohol.

“We do not intend to allow bars and other types of establishments in town (that serve alcohol). We would allow package sales,” Gottschalk said.

“If it helps the town, I guess it would be alright,” Cambria resident Linda Lawrence said. “I don’t drink, so I wouldn’t be buying any.”

Lawrence said she does not believe it would be right to tell others they cannot buy alcohol. She does not condemn others for drinking, even though she is not a drinker herself.

Dana Hammonds, owner of Golden Goodies Antiques and Crafts, said she believes alcohol causes more problems than any good it does. She also knows that people will drive to other towns and purchase what they want to drink.

“I probably won’t vote for it. It’s not going to be a benefit to me,” Hammonds said. “I know most people in town are for it, even Christians.”

Hammond stressed that this is her personal opinion, but she understands the village wanting to do something that helps.

The village board also discussed setting up liquor control board and what requirements might be needed, but Gottschalk said it is premature to set up anything before the votes are tabulated April 4.

“A store like Casey’s would be another gas station in Carbondale and Carterville, but it’s a way of life in a town like Cambria,” Gottschalk said.

In a small town, a convenience store is more than a place to buy gas, according to Gottschalk. People in Cambria would go to the convenience store early in the morning for coffee and doughnuts. They would stop at lunchtime for sandwiches and they might even go back in the evening for pizza. They would stop and visit for a few minutes.

“It would be very beneficial for us to do this,” Gottschalk said.

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Marilyn Halstead is a reporter covering Williamson County.

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