Common Council denies license for Bronzeville Dollar Tree

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The Milwaukee Common Council on Tuesday, July 2nd voted 14-0-1 to deny a license for a Dollar Tree store to operate on Martin Luther King Dr.

Residents living in the Bronzeville neighborhood in Milwaukee were excited about redevelopment plans. They thought a grocery store was coming to the area -- but instead, the owner of the building where the store was headed efforted opening a Dollar Tree store there instead.

Residents weren't happy, and neither was their alderwoman, Milele Coggs.

Coggs released the following statement after Tuesday's vote:

"Today’s Council action is a victory for neighbors, who have been opposed to the Dollar Tree from the beginning at that location because of the detrimental impact on the neighborhood (litter, traffic, noise, etc.) and the inconsistencies with Bronzeville (Milwaukee’s African-American Arts Cultural & Entertainment District).

They were hoping that the property owner’s promise of a grocery store would come to fruition, and obviously that promise has not been kept.

I have supported the neighbors’ position on this location from the start, and during a public meeting I hosted last month it was abundantly evident that the Dollar Tree was not supported (and that clear message was also conveyed to the owner of the property).

For residents, I believe they can look to the example set by the Bronzeville area neighbors as an excellent approach to civic engagement.

The neighbors attended public meetings (including the Licenses Committee meeting at City Hall) and presented their arguments against the food license, the committee and the Council agreed with them, and in the end they achieved the results they were looking for.

I will continue working with the neighbors to pursue the proper and best use of the property."

Coggs says the redevelopment of the Bronzeville neighborhood is centered around an African-American culture.

"Spent the last year-and-a-half building what we thought was MLK Supermarket. We saw the grocery store at King Drive and North Ave. as an opportunity to enhance the neighborhood. Unfortunately, the owner has seen fit to go back on what he promised the neighborhood, and we started seeing signage for Dollar Tree," Coggs said.

Coggs and those who live in the neighborhood say they feel misled.

"We were looking forward to the grocery store. We need some fresh fruit and not processed things. Dollar Tree doesn't have that. It has microwave things. We need healthy foods in our neighborhood," a Bronzeville resident told FOX6 News.