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Will Wilkinsburg Break a 77-Year 'Dry' Spell?

Wilkinsburg Community Development Corp. will pursue a liquor license referendum for local restaurants in next April's primary election.

Wilkinsburg Community Development Corp. will seek to get a referendum on the primary election ballot next April allowing restaurants in Wilkinsburg to apply for and receive liquor licenses from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The board of directors voted Nov. 17 to approve the effort to pursue “R” liquor licenses as part of the Business District Revitalization Plan adopted by the Wilkinsburg Borough in June 2010. According to a news release, the board said it believes restaurant liquor licenses can attract new businesses to Wilkinsburg and increase investment in the area.

The WCDC will hold public meetings to garner input. From Jan. 24 to Feb. 14, 2013, the WCDC will collect the 2,189 signatures needed to get the referendum on the ballot. If the required number of signatures are gathered, the referendum will be included on the primary election ballot on April 24.

“Though Wilkinsburg has been a ‘dry’ community for more than 77 years, we want to explore this option to attract full-service restaurants to the community, as other once-dry communities have successfully done in their community development efforts,” said Tracey Evans, executive director of WCDC.

The Wilkinsburg Community Development Corp. was formed in June 2008 with a mission to revitalize Wilkinsburg and surrounding areas through business and residential development, organizational and individual civic leadership, and cultural enrichment.

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Paul Gamrat November 28, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Do they really think the lack of a liquor license is keeping investors and people out of Wilkinsburg?
Missy November 28, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Just what Wilkinsburg needs -- DRUNK gang bangers running around the the town.
Mark November 28, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Finally some common sense leadership in Wilkinsburg. As if being dry all these years has made anything here better. "Drunk gang bangers" are here now. Better to control them through licensed establishments than not at all.
J.s. Tedesco November 28, 2012 at 06:23 PM
One of the reasons.
J.s. Tedesco November 28, 2012 at 06:25 PM
I live in Wilkinsburg and I am not a gang banger. It would be nice to be able to go to a place and get my drink on. Missy, do you live in Penn Hills or Monroeville?
J.s. Tedesco November 28, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Wilkinsburg: the next Lawrenceville
cloversm November 28, 2012 at 06:50 PM
I also am a resident of Wilkinsburg, and am very cautious about this. Opening up R licensees from the LCB does not preclude bars and nightclubs, in addition to the "sit down" establishments that it appears to be. My major concern is the further stretching of community policing, code and judicial resources beyond the tight limits that they already have. I dont think that this is the answer to investment problems quite frankly...there would BYOB sit down establishments charging stem fees now if that were the case. There are much larger structural development/community challenges to address to attract investors. I love my community and my neighbors, and have been actively engaged in it for 10 years, but I am very cautious of this proposal not causing more problems than it solves.
Paula B. November 29, 2012 at 12:53 AM
What makes a restaurant cashflow? The ability to serve alcohol! It seems very artificial that for instance a restaurant can serve alcohol on Braddock Avenue in Pittsburgh or Swissvale but not 3 blocks away in Wilkinsburg. And I agree with J.s Tedesco, Wilkinsburg has all the potential to become the next Lawrenceville. I congratulate the Wilkinsburg CDC to continue to think "outside the box"
Daniel Santiago November 29, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Wilkinsburg is one of the most beautiful places on the planet.

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