SHREVEPORT, La. - After a two-year battle, the Shreveport City Council Tuesday voted to approve a controversial liquor store in the city’s Highland neighborhood.
The council voted to 6-1 to approve the store, but with a major change -- an amendment that would require the store to close by 9 p.m.
Before the vote came down, more than 20 citizens spoke out against the liquor store, including the police chief of nearby Centenary College. The president of the college had spoken against the proposal the day before.
Other residents said that a liquor store could lead to more crime in the area. Heidi Gerkin told the council that her family had been the victims of a home invasion and that her daughter still suffered from PTSD as a result of the incident.
“Studies have shown over and over again that allowing liquor stores in this neighborhood is like throwing fuel on the fire,” Gerkin said.
A handful of others told the council they supported the business plan, saying that the owner, Bernie Woods, has a good reputation and is a military veteran who would run a tight ship.
“If you in fact believe this business to be such a detriment to the community then I move right now that you close every liquor store in the minority community,” said one resident in support.
But the 9 p.m. restriction could be a deal breaker. Woods had requested that the store be open until 11 p.m., saying that closing down at 9 p.m. would let customers got to his competitors who are open until 11.
While Woods was disappointed with the amendment he did not say whether this was a deal breaker yet. He also has not technically bought the property yet, but has a contract to buy.