Community upset over Walgreens replacing Lincoln Park church - FOX 32 News Chicago

Community upset over Walgreens replacing Lincoln Park church: EXCLUSIVE

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Plans to demolish a church located in Lincoln Park and replace it with a Walgreens store is drawing fire from neighbors.

After 38 years, the Greater Little Rock the Lord Church, at the corner of Dayton St. and Armitage Ave, is about to be demolished to make way for the retail giant--on a street known for it's boutique shops and small businesses.

More than 150 people packed a nearby church basement worried that Walgreens was going to be force-fed on their community like a dose of bad-tasting medicine. Many folks who live on this tree-lined street that intersects where the store will be, say it just doesn't fit in the neighborhood.

"We don't want any big box retailers," says Eileen Kirkwood. "We don't want pan handlers at the end of our streets, we've got a high school down the road, there's gonna be lots of high school kids congregating, you see them here right now"

People at several of the small shops expressed concerns that a Walgreens could hurt their business. But there are supporters.

Subway Owner Syed Ali thinks adding the Walgreens will be a good thing "because there's a lot of late-night rush here."

At the meeting Monday, a Walgreens representative said the store would be a min-version of the one that recently opened at State St. and Randolph St. But the actual plans have not been developed.

"Part of my job is to reassure you that we are trying to blend in with the community, that's what Walgreens tries to do everywhere," explains Todd Frank. "We are trying to blend into the community that's what Walgreens tries to do everywhere."

Neighbors voiced concerns about traffic, the potential for pan handlers and crime; especially if Walgreens gets the liquor license it very much wants. Alderman Michele Smith doesn't like the idea.

"I've already told the Walgreens people I oppose having a liquor license here… "said Smith.

Some people had a sense they really won't have any say, because the developer and Walgreens have the right to demolish the church and build what they want.

"They have the right to start building," says Kristi Nuelle, a concerned neighbor. "I hope the process of listening to the neighbors and working with us carries on."

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