Recently the Sour Apple liqueur store opened in the former discount bread store on West Egdewood, while down the street on Bunkerhill near Edgewood the convenience store closed and reopened as a liquor store. Then up the street, to the left and right of Lem Turner are two liquor stores. Armed with enough liquor, nicotine products and snacks, the four stores are drawing concerns with residents in the area. Residents want to know how the liquor stores received approval to open without their input? Many of the residents reached out to Free Press news, their city council and state representatives for answers. The Free Press followed up with Councilwoman Jucoby Pittman whom indicated that the zoning for approval did not come through her office and had been grand-fathered in on the properties. In search for answers, the Free Press spoke with State Representative Traci Davis.
By Lynn JonesTurpin – Once a beloved neighborhood of well kept homes and thriving entrepreneurial businesses, a drive down northsides Edgewood Avenue now tells a different tale. Not only are few of the businesses owned by the residents that occupy the community, but those that do emerge, are not what can be described as “community development” or even stakeholders. With the loss of the local elementary school last year, the community resemblances are now being viewed as simple “the hood.”
“You’d think that all northside residents near the intersection of Edgewood and Lem Turner are in need of an alcoholic cocktail, day, morning, noon and night with all these liquor stores,” said longtime resident Cheryl Anderson. Walking to the local convenience store was part of her daily exercise, that store is now a liquor store and she proudly shares she “wants no parts of that.” For Anderson the issue is not so much the desire for a cocktail, but the four liquor stores that have sprouted up in the area, with less than a half mile in between the last six months.
“Our office also received upsetting and negative comments from residents on the liquor stores, we have to have more voices so we can hear the community to better help with these issues,” said Davis. Davis has reached out to Councilpersons Reginald Gaffney and Jucoby Pittman, suggesting a moratorium on liquor stores opening in the area and wants to include another layer of process by making the liquor stores come before city council for approval.
Having the stores on the City Council approval list, may prolong the process, but will give residents the options to hear the reasons to open at their local community and city hall meetings. Many of the liquor stores employ their relatives (not local residents) and have no clue on what’s happening in the areas surrounding their stores.
“They live elsewhere and come to our community to make their money, they could care less about us,” Anderson continued. Residents are hopeful as the City continues to grapple for hundreds of millions for projects like Lot J, that they will also consider the quality of life of all tax paying citizens.