North Omaha stands against liquor stores

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May 10th, 2011

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Some in the North Omaha community want to limit liquor outlets in their neighborhoods. (Photo credit Wikimedia)

Omaha, NE – Liquor stores are easily found throughout the poorest communities in Omaha, particularly on the north side. But some in the neighborhood would like to see the landscape change.

Currently, while driving east of 72nd St. on Ames, you can spot several liquor outlets: mini-marts and gas stations with prominent liquor sections. In fact, on the corner of 42nd St. and Ames, there are two liquor outlets directly across from each other, and several blocks down on 30th and Ames, there are three more. Project Extra Mile and several community leaders have partnered up to work on a city ordinance that they hope to propose to the Omaha City Council. It would limit the number of liquor stores in North Omaha. John Voner, the senior pastor of World Fellowship Church, said the area is saturated.

“One of the things we found,” he said, is if “our city council makes a recommendation that the liquor license shouldn’t be instituted, the liquor commission, which is in Lincoln… who does not necessary know our landscape or have any investment in our landscape, can still approve of our liquor license, overriding what the community feels, and even the suggesting of the city council.”

Vonner said the proposed ordinance isn’t going to be popular with everyone in the community, but in order for change to happen, he said, people have to speak up.

“We want this ordinance to be written in and put into place,” he said. “As the community, when we speak up, [we want to be] heard, and not only heard, but also acknowledged.”

Hobbert Rupe is the Executive Director of the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission in Lincoln. In a brief phone conversation with KVNO News, Rupe said he has no opinion on the issue.

For about a year now, several community meetings on the subject have been held throughout the city, and another forum was scheduled for Monday night at Big Mama’s Kitchen in North Omaha.

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