Residents in Springfield Gardens are claiming victory after preventing a liquor store from setting up shop near a high school. NY1's J.T. Fetch filed the following report.
It's a goal that took months to achieve, but now it's official: The application for a liquor store in a soon-to-be-completed Springfield Gardens shopping center has been denied a license by the state's Liquor Authority.
Councilman Donovan Richards says the problem is that alcohol was going to be sold only feet away from Springfield Gardens High School.
"This type of organization does not depict who we are as a community," Richards told supporters this week. "And it should never have been proposed in an area that encompasses our youth."
Richards says he found out about the proposed liquor store back in March, and it didn't take long for the community to get organized and get signatures.
Richards says he collected nearly 1,000 signatures on a petition from residents.
"It deters their education, and we don't need this in our community," said Fay Hill of the Friends of Springfield Park organization. "We need quality of life, and we're going to implement quality of life."
"All power to us to keep our neighborhood the way that we like it, and healthy for our kids," added Springfield Gardens resident Denise Kojak.
Eighteen-year-old Mubashar Hamid is happy the store won't be opening. He says kids in the neighborhood have enough challenges without adding alcohol to the mix.
"It'll show the kids that go to the school that you can do something with your life, you can go the right way," Hamid said.
Community members say they're fine with the other businesses slated to open in the center, including a laundromat. But they say they're not done fighting against businesses they feel are a threat to their community – "any organization that tries to attack our children, our way of life," according to Arnel Stefan of the Rosedale Civic Association.
Meanwhile, Richards says he'll push for tougher regulations like doubling the current 200 feet mandated distance between liquor stores and schools, and requiring the stores to submit applications to the community board before setting up shop.
NY1 contacted the shopping center's landlord, Platinum Realty Associates, but they declined to comment for this story.