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Will Going Dry Fix Bronzeville?

By JoshMogerman in News on Dec 5, 2010 8:00PM

Photo by: trippchicago
Liquor stores have been problematic in the slow rebirth of the South Side Bronzeville neighborhood. So problematic, that community groups and the 3rd Ward Alderman Pat Dowell are pushing a ballot initiative to make the neighborhood go dry, eliminating two stores that have been labeled as nuisances. But Chicago Public Radio’s Natalie Moore talked to a number of residents questioning whether the move would really fix what ails the area, noting that area problems run far deeper. A recent store closure could give Bronzeville voters a better sense of the potential impact of the initiative.

Earlier this month Pappy’s Liquors closed at the corner of 47th and Cottage Grove in the neighboring 4th Ward to make way for a new mixed-use development. The store, which sits across the street from Alderman and soon-to-be-Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s office, had been viewed with concern by neighbors who blamed it for increased loitering and crime in the area. Given the proximity and similar concerns about an outsized impact on the community, the corner could be viewed as a test as to whether making the entire 3rd Ward dry will address the core issues in the area. And continued media attention means that much of the rest of the City will be watching too as a new cast of characters will be looking for ways to address crime and quality of life from City Hall.