Residents Decry Store Location

By: Stan Torgerson
By: Stan Torgerson

Some residents of Meridian told the Meridian City Council they are upset over the construction of a liquor store near the new victory village housing project development.

The proposed store would be at 46th Avenue and 5th Street. Dr. Zachary Operton, pastor of Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church in Meridian was the leadoff speaker Tuesday for those opposed to the plan.

"If we allow this liquor store to be built or granted a license, we will be taking our money to poison young people's minds and giving nothing back," said Operton. "If they want to build it somewhere else, take it there but we do not want it within our community."

Businessman Freddie Hare, a member of Mt. Olive, agreed.

"Kids, young kids, are our future here in this town. That's what we're looking at. We see this liquor store as poison. It's so close to the project that actually there's no choice," Hare said.

They were joined by Mary Lois McCall and her husband David, who live next door to the proposed store.

"Since the city doesn't think there's anything they can do, how could we go about getting a permit to picket the establishment if we can't do anything else?" asked the McCalls.

But Michael Strahan, the city council's attorney, said it was too late.

"The zoning requirements and permit requirements have already been met, and I believe the permit has already been issued," Strahan said. "But the licensing itself does not come through the city council."

The actual license to sell liquor is issued by the Mississippi Alcohol Beverage Control Board in Jackson.

Councilman Jesse Palmer confirmed Strahan's words.

"All we can do as a council, if we were to deny the licensing, all we could do is to cause a lawsuit that we would pay out unnecessary money," Palmer said. "We would lose the lawsuit."

At this point, those opposed are seeking a new approach to blocking the store.

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