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Meeting on Controversial Armitage Walgreens Set

By Paul Biasco | March 31, 2013 8:56am

LINCOLN PARK— Ald. Michele Smith (43rd) has scheduled a community meeting for April 8 to discuss the proposed plans for a controversial Walgreens, which will replace a former Baptist church in the historic Armitage-Halsted District.

The last meeting on the proposed three-story structure was held more than five months ago, and although roughly 200 residents at the meeting anticipated seeing plans for the building, none were shown and none have been shown since.

On April 8, Smith, along with the Sheffield Neighborhood Association and members of Walgreens and their development team, will host a meeting at St. James Church, 2050 N. Fremont St., from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

A major concern with neighbors and business owners along the Armitage-Halsted Historic District is that the future site of Walgreens, 834 W. Armitage Ave., is exempt from landmark status and the company will not have to adhere to architectural guidelines to match the other buildings along Armitage.

In an email sent this week, Smith said she has "strongly encouraged the developer to meet voluntarily with the Landmarks Commission to get feedback on their plan."

She has also imposed a liquor moratorium on the north side of Armitage, thus liquor will not be sold at the Walgreens.

The Greater Little Rock Baptist Church, which stood on the site of the planned Walgreens since 1973, was demolished in November.

Residents and business owners in the area are concerned with parking and loading zones for the Walgreens in an area where parking is already sparse.

Results of a traffic study commissioned by the developer concluded that opening a Walgreens would mean an additional 15 vehicles would come and go from the area per hour during peak times.