Urbana Council Gives Initial Backing to Liquor Store
By Jeff Bossert
The Urbana City Council has given its initial endorsement to reopen a liquor store that closed in May after its owners were arrested for drug paraphernalia.
The Home Run Food Mart on East Washington Street closed in May. Urbana Police Chief Patrick Connolly says if the plan is given final approval, they’ll work with the site’s new prospective owners to develop security features that weren’t in place before, like security lighting and fencing, signage that prohibits loitering, and banning abandoned vehicles.
Police Lieutenant Bob Fitzgerald says this kind of proactive approach could apply to other businesses and residential areas.
"We try to see what's going on beforehand, we try to look at it and make sure we get out in front of it," he said. "But if there's a problem, even if it's small, we try to work on it, and we'll go to the business owner and talk to him. I've gone to several in the past, and we go to him and talk to him, and try to come up with something early so we don't have it explode into something bigger."
The plan received unanimous approval in Monday night’s committee of the whole meeting. If the location’s liquor license is granted final approval, the store would re-open as One Stop Food and Liquor.
Alderman Robert Lewis says this action should be looked upon as an opportunity to make things better, rather than what has occurred at the site.
Resident Robin Arbiter urged caution when issuing a new liquor license, noting 'absolutely no one' wanted to see a return to the kind of violent crimes that were occurring in that neighborhood.