SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A Springfield-based neighborhood alliance is taking up their issue with one liquor store’s plan to relocate across the street from Springfield Public Schools’ Campbell Early Learning Center.
Dozens of parents and neighbors gathered near the old Kum & Go on Mt. Vernon and Campbell in Springfield on July 10, 2020, to protest a proposed liquor license that, if approved, would allow a liquor store to replace the gas station near the school.
“Our ultimate hope is that the city denies the liquor license request,” said Caron Parnell, president of the West Central Neighborhood Alliance.
Parnell says this a liquor license at this location would be a violation of city code, which requires alcohol sales to be at least 200 feet away from a school or church.
“The Early Childhood Education Center is right across the street, so you have several young children who are right across the street,” said Parnell. “Secondly, it attracts all kinds of crime, people come to hang out and some drug deals go down and when the Kum & Go was at the location, there were all kinds of issues with crime.”
Now that the Kum & Go is gone, Southside Baptist Church Pastor Chad Harkrider says the area has become safer.
“I haven’t seen that [crime] as much since that was since closed down in March,” said Harkrider.
Parnell and Harkrider believe the Grant Avenue Parkway Project will likely transform the area in a few years.
“That’s not something very attractive to tourists and bicyclists,” said Parnell. ” We want something more attractive than a liquor store.”
“I would love to see something like a small restaurant or an ice cream parlor that would benefit the people of this community and deter crime instead of contributing to it,” said Harkrider.
Parnell says many have already petitioned against the license.
“All the people within 200 feet, we had to have 50% of those people to sign the petition for it to go before council,” said Parnell.
The Neighborhood Alliance say they got enough signatures to qualify. Now the Springfield City Council will make the final decision on July 13.