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Message to Mayor Lori Lightfoot

Mayor Lori Lightfoot

City Hall

121 North LaSalle Street

Chicago, Illinois 60602


Dear Mayor Lightfoot:


Members of Repair Restore And Grow Black Communities continue to express concerns about the closing of One Eleven Food & Liquors in the East Garfield Park community. It is disheartening, reckless and grossly inconsiderate to remove this anchor from the community. We demand other alternatives than closing this establishment down. There appears to be an assumption that removal is the best way. The owner Mr. Searrcy acted responsibly by erecting a fence, hiring security and placing signs around his business.



Other considerations could have included upgrading the establishment, and limiting or discontinuing the sale of liquor to address the loitering . Mr. Searcy’s property can accommodate a larger or multiple businesses. Given the appropriate support, we are certain that changes other than total displacement would have been more positively impactful for the community .


e.g. (enhancing One Eleven Food & Liquors as a larger grocery store with an improved produce department and food items prepared by local entrepreneurs at the Hatchery, a taste of the local culture in a restaurant with foods prepared by local chefs using produce from local gardens, a green cleaners, boutique for local entrepreneurs…) There are many possibilities. The enhancement itself, with cameras, better lighting and a greater police presence would address the issue with loitering.



Certainly other considerations would be less destructive and more of an enhancement as well as a respect for maintaining the cultural and historical elements of the community. Everyday that Mr. Searcy’s establishment is closed, it is having a negative impact on his ability to provide for his family, continue to support the community, circulate dollars in the community and pass on his legacy. Our fear is that he will be forced to sell.


Chicago can serve as a model of gentrification that has a higher and more thoughtful level of inclusiveness, regard for the existing businesses and residents, preserving the culture, and devotion to innovation without displacement in our predominantly Black communities. We ask that you reconsider another plan of action than closing One Eleven Food And Liquors.



Respectfully,

Denise Hetherington, Board President

Doris Lewis, Board Treasurer

Harvey Yarbrough, Board Secretary

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