West End wet/dry battle continues
West end residents, churches, and neighborhood groups are turning up the heat on state and local Alcoholic Beverage Control.
Last fall, residents of four west end precincts voted to go dry. That forced two liquor stores to close and three convenience stores to stop selling alcohol. But with a new liquor store on the horizon opponents want ABC agencies to say "no" instead of forcing another wet-dry election.
A small group of West-end residents claims to represent thousands of others who do not want a liquor store in a vacant storefront at 34th and Market.
Mary Myers, who opposes liquor store says, "Neighborhoods have their share of problems and liquor stores on every corner doesn't help."
One man El-Khoury is causing the new West-end liquor sales debate. The store he used to operate Bakos at this 34th and Market location closed after an appeal of the wet-dry vote was turned down.
But the store front just across the street is in a precinct where liquor sales are still legal. So El-Khoury is seeking permission to re-open there.
Rudy Davidson, with the Shawnee Neighborhood Association says, "We recognize he has a right as an individual but we also have a right as a community and a neighborhood and we're hoping the ABC will consider our rights and our opinion."
Residents say they can prove crime has gone down since alcohol sales banned in the four precincts. So Alcoholic Beverage Control should turn down the new liquor store application residents oppose.
Cheri Bryant-Hamilton (D) , Metro Council Member says, "This would be a nice grocery. A nice bakery. A nice bookstore." Bryant-Hamilton says another liquor store would be out of place as a big push to attract positive businesses is just getting off the ground.
Neighborhood groups and Metro government think they can bring more business to the West Market corridor. They are doing a study now on how to accomplish that. They are also going to be spending money on streetscapes.
At one particular intersection they want to improve ragged bus stop landscaping and new sidewalks are also planned to make the whole neighborhood more attractive and inviting.
Attorney Teddy Gordon who represents El-Khoury says his client meets all of the requirements so there's no reason to turn down his liquor license application.
Residents say they may eventually seek a wet-dry vote in the precinct but for now they are hoping Alcoholic Beverage Control will side with them.