The Southwest Journal has an interesting profile of the effects excessive drinking and chronic alcoholism have on the Steven Square neighborhood. Is the store to blame for the problems? Where should the blame lay:
Coming to a crossroads
In a map of Stevens Square that charted 635 citations for public consumption of alcohol, as well as open bottle and liquor violations in the park in 2005 and 2006, the incidents cluster around the intersection like a bull’s-eye. But some residents would place that bull’s-eye a half-block south, right on top of Franklin Nicollet Liquor Store.
Residents like Shelly Kehr say the liquor store’s sales practices encourage the chronic inebriates that roam the neighborhood to return day after day. Like several others who attended a series of task force meetings on alcohol-related crime, the area block club leader refuses to shop at the store.
â€œI don’t feel safe there,â€ Kehr said.
Store manager Dave Hautman, who has participated in the task force meetings, said he refuses service to the â€œfrequent flyers,â€ as he calls them, and has stopped selling items like single servings of malt liquor. But Hautman argued those changes didn’t get at the heart of the problem.
â€œNobody wants to deal with the people,â€ he said. â€œThey want to deal with this place.â€
If the Franklin Nicollet Liquor Store was not at that corner, would there be less drinking in the area? Yes.
Less alcohol related crimes like public urination and littering? Yes.
Less pan handling by chronic inebriates looking for money to spend at the liquor store? Yes.
It’s worth reading the whole article to get City Council Member Robert Lilligren’s take on things. In his opinion, pan handling and drinking related crimes have only become a problem now that the more aggressive drug dealing and violence have been pushed out. So, in a sense, this is a sign of progress.