‘It’s a huge slap in the face:’ Some NW Jax neighbors fight against proposed liquor store

What was once a daycare in Northwest Jacksonville could soon be another liquor store, less than half a mile from an existing one.

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Rita’s Learning Center on Soutel Drive was sold to an owner who is working to possibly open “Al’s Liquor.”

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“We need more access to fresh, healthy food. We want access to different businesses available all across town,” State Representative Angie Nixon, who represents that area, said. “We want businesses that actually improve our quality of life. The fact there’s already a liquor store less than two miles, it’s a huge slap in the face to my community.”

Two years ago, Nixon joined neighbors to fight against another proposed liquor store on Soutel and won.

Read: Jacksonville City Council approves buying Brentwood liquor store for $1.8 million

Action News Jax found at least three total liquor stores within a two-mile radius of the proposed site. Another concern is a daycare that sits hundreds of feet away across the street.

“Not only is there a daycare there, but there is also multiple bus stops that drop children off less than 200 feet away from that liquor store,” Nixon argued.

That was one of the main concerns neighbors in Brentwood had over a proposed liquor store there across the street from a school, which ultimately ended with the city having to purchase the property after it was granted approval.

Related Story: ‘Enriching the owner:’ Jacksonville city leaders react to acquiring Brentwood liquor store

According to the city’s permitting page, the owner of this site on Soutel would still have to do a distance survey.

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The owner told Action News Jax he is not entirely set on opening a liquor store because the required license is expensive and he’s also looking into the idea of a smoke shop. He said either way, he’s open to conversations with the community.

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