Mixing alcohol and movie theaters stirs emotions: ‘Our children have nowhere to go’

By John Sharp jsharp@al.com 

September 09, 2014

www.al.com

MOBILE, Alabama – A decision on whether to grant a liquor license to a west Mobile multiplex cinema to sell beer and wine is on hold for about one month so Mobile City Council members can address concerns from residents who fear mixing alcohol in a family-friendly establishment.

Residents voiced their opposition before the council Tuesday on the proposed liquor license to Carmike Inc., to allow restricted beer and wine sales inside Wynnsong 16, 785 Schillinger Road South.

Parents, a pastor and concerned citizens said the mix of alcohol into the theater could allow for dangerous driving along Schillinger Road, will be hard for authorities to monitor and hurts the family-friendly atmosphere of the movie complex, among other things.

“Our children have nowhere to go,” Karen Swanson, a mother of a 19-year-old, said. “Everywhere he goes, there is alcohol. If he says that he’s going to the movie theater, then there is a big sigh (of relief). I don’t know want him where there is alcohol. It’s around. There is peer pressure.”

Mack Morris, pastor of Woodridge Baptist Church and representative of more than 100 Baptist churches in the area, said that its members passed a unanimous recommendation opposing the license. He said his church, alone, collected 700 signatures in opposition.

Morris, and others, opposed the proliferation of alcohol sales in general. He likened alcohol to Hurricane Frederic, the 1979 storm that devastated the Mobile area.

“You cannot control winds of 112 mph, but you can control a storm of alcohol,” Morris said, urging council members to be “courageous” and to do the “right thing for our children and families.”

Other residents recited social media comments opposing the inclusion of beer and wine into the theater complex.

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