For the past few decades the Cold Spring COGIC Jesus at 107 Verplank and Gigi’s Restaurant were good neighbors. Then two years ago the iconic Jefferson/Ferry business closed due to a devastating fire.
The church, along with the community, was prayerful GiGi’s would one day reopen. Their prayers were answered. It was announced with much fanfare earlier this year that the restaurant would be back in business once again – but in a different location inside the new Northland Corridor. It was also revealed that the building that once housed GiGi’s had been sold. The news that followed was even more unsettling. The buildings’ new owner, it was learned, was planning to open a liquor store in that location. Today prayer has been coupled with protest and an outraged community has come together to vehemently push back against such an opening. “We are definitely not in favor of it,” Pastor Joseph Wallace of Cold Spring COGIC Jesus told The Challenger recently.
“A nice restaurant” or another family oriented establishment would be a much better choice, one the public would “embrace” he added. His church would particularly appreciate it given the fact that they are located less than 200 feet from the proposed new liquor store. “It will be right next door!” Rev. Wallace pointed out. “So much (negativity) comes with it,” he continued, adding that the concern is that it would downgrade the community. “We don’t want or need liquor stores on every corner.” Rev. Wallace was referring to the fact that there are already at least three other liquor stores within two miles of the one the new Gigi’s building owner is proposing.
The community he suggested, is looking to go forward, not backwards. Two weeks ago, residents, members of the clergy, political representatives and even children as young as 10 year old, Jaylah Bell – made their passions clear to Buffalo native state Liquor Authority Deputy Commissioner David L. Edmunds. The meeting, called by Masten District Councilmember Ulysees Wingo, was supposed to be an informational session about how the Authority processes and evaluates applications.
However the will of the people prevailed, as speaker after speaker voiced their opposition to plans to open a liquor store in that location. Mr. Edmunds pointed out that given the extent of public agitation, he felt it appropriate to hear the community’s concerns and to give effective direction to them. He said he would also be preparing a summary memo of the meeting to present to the state board as part of their decision making material.
He said it typically takes 45 to 60 days to complete the license application process.