Friday, February 12, 2010

Food and Liquor

Our block club has been diversifying its interests, the winter slows a lot of the craziness in the neighborhood, so rather than tackling problems, we've kinda taken the opportunity to build into developing relationships with residents on Karlov and Kedvale, to the west of us, meeting politicians that represent our block, and by getting to know business owners along North Avenue and Pulaski. Dave initially became friendly with the of Don Carlos restaurant while working the polls last week. That bloomed into a conversation that included ideas for opening a high end wine and specialty beer shop next door to the bar,that will offer panini's, imported cigars, food, and a lottery machine. The owner wanted to meet with the community about the idea. So, Dave, being the organizer that he is, gave an invitation to the man to come to our block club meeting last night.

Dave also fliered the three blocks to get people to come to the meeting. We did get one person from Kedvale, and multiple people from our block. Dave led the meeting by encouraging the man to detail his plans, show his approval letters from the alderman, and chamber of commerce, as well as to give details about committing to hire local unemployed people and youth, especially from our block. The audience peppered the man with concerns that ranged from keeping the place clean, to our concerns about another liquor store in our area, to actually scrapping the plan in an effort to provide space for a head start program. He seemed intent on his plan to open the store within six months. Dave gave the man our unequivocal support, but I said we needed to thin about it. Generally, the owner left with a petition signed by all that support the project, and a general sense of agreement from the block club that we want to support local business, we as an entity will not get in the way of a liquor store, although most rather have a day care, so as long as we can keep him accountable to his agreements and that we will have enough of a relationship with him to approach him if the business begins to have an adverse effecton our community. All this to say, it was a good meeting, the beginnings of a respected community organization, albeit a little scrappy one that has its hands in the happenings of our neighborhood. Thanks for your work Dave.

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