Looking out for our Economic Future Denise Jackson, Peoria City Council District 1

Last month on February 22, 2022 the Peoria City Council voted 10-1 to deny a request for a liquor license for two stores, N and Out Market on Western and TNT Outlet on Jefferson I made the motion to deny the site application. This decision came at the recommendation of the Peoria Police Department. Peoria Police Department Investigator Kevin Slavens said it was due to the high volume of police calls in that area (District 8) compared to other parts of the city. He said the addition of another liquor store in that area will only exacerbate the high call volume and strain police department resources. There are at least five establishments within a half-mile of N and Out Market that already sell liquor.

Denial for the Jefferson Avenue location was largely due to a letter from St. Ann’s Catholic Church, opposing the request. St. Ann’s and South Side Manor Senior apartment complexes are in close proximity to TNT Outlet. UFS Retail Store is four blocks away and already sells packaged liquor.

I appreciate the good work of Willie and Shonta Simmons in opening up businesses on the Southside. But, we already have too many stand-alone stores that sell liquor in our community. Residents are suffering many negative residual effects from liquor stores: litter, loitering, additional vehicle and foot traffic. It’s unfortunate that others have to pay the price for the negative outcomes.

Our neighborhoods are vulnerable right now. We have to look towards the future. With the road redevelopment project underway on Western Avenue and plans for trying to revive it as a business district, we must be careful in our decisions.

About 20 years ago when I relocated back to Peoria, I was excited about Walgreens opening a new store at the corner of Howett and Western. In less than a year’s time, Walgreens shut the store down and moved about a half-mile up the hill to its current location. For some reason, Walgreens company officials looked around and decided quickly to go elsewhere. We cannot afford to let that happen again.

I believe that too many stand-alone liquor stores will scare away potential future investors. The Peoria City Council has denied 5 similar site applications in the past 15 months. These are not easy decisions to make but the data speaks for itself.