GREEN MOUSE SAYS: Neo-prohibitionism, foppery and hypocrisy at Indiana Landmarks as Family Dollar on Vincennes gets a perfectly legal alcohol sales permit.


Heavens, these people make it hard to take a sabbatical, but someone has to provide the “free press” counterweight by offering an opposing point of view, and it might as well be the Green Mouse. Jeeebus, can you let us rest for once?

In which Greg Sekula of Indiana Landmarks, evidently unaware that the docket for the monthly meetings of the Alcohol & Tobacco Commission’s local board us announced weeks in advance, and furthermore, finds at long last that 1:00 p.m. weekday meetings are difficult for normal folks to attend, strenuously objects to an Indiana alcohol sales permit approved for Family Dollar on Vincennes, and does so on behalf of his employer Indiana Landmarks, which if I’m not mistaken in the past has actually hosted a meeting of the Brewers of Indiana Guild in Indianapolis (which I attended), at which the viability of alcohol sales as a means of saving (that’s right) landmarks was both discussed and advocated.

In fact, is there not a special class of Indiana alcohol sales permits precisely intended for listed historic structures (not newer “shittier” non-contributing buildings), to be used primarily in dense downtown areas, and available as a means of placing alcohol permits where they otherwise might be rejected (in cases of proximity to a church, for example)?

And, isn’t the long existing Uptown Liquors equidistant from New Albany High School? Is the same effort being undertaken to shut it down?

We’re all aware of the Dollar General/Family Dollar opprobrium. It’s real enough, and these sort of stores generally are opposed by the well-heeled, who resent untrammeled capitalism’s inelegant but apparently thriving solution to the absence of shopping options in poor neighborhoods.

You don’t hear them questioning untrammeled capitalism, do you?

It’s also quite hard to see how hypocritically massing New Albany’s elite clique cadre against Family Dollar on the grounds of alcohol sales makes sense given the proximity of Uptown Liquors to the high school.

There are numerous reasons why the Vincennes Street corridor has declined, and most begin with the closing of the automobile lanes on the K & I Bridge 40+ years ago. Family Dollar’s very presence in this neighborhood is a symptom of numerous other issues pertaining to institutionalized squalor, which four decades of New Albany civic “leadership” refused to address, and now the beautiful people are disturbed by the ensuing mess.

I’m no fan of Family Dollar, but in terms of alcohol sales permits, what exactly has the company done wrong? If the store is located too close to the school, the local ATC board would not receive a recommendation to approve it. If the store elects to sell to minors, you can rest assured the ATC will intervene, as it does elsewhere. There are very few state institutions that perform their functions as capably as the ATC, trust me.

What sort of upper crust prohibitionist’s rationale is being advanced here?

Is it because Family Dollar won’t be selling $20 six-packs of craft beer, but reasonably priced mass market beers (even hard seltzer) to people who don’t have ready surpluses of disposable income — or, precisely the reason why Family Dollar exists where it does in the first place?

The supreme irony is this: if the K & I Bridge reopened tomorrow as a pedestrian and bicycle link to Louisville, overnight the desirability of alcohol sales permits located on the Vincennes Street corridor would skyrocket, and just as quickly, Sekula and his pals would be advocating on behalf of Indiana Landmarks to expand the riverfront development area to include the corridor and make more three-ways available for the investors who’ll save historic buildings by selling $15 martinis to gentrifiers.

Those opposed to Family Dollar’s lawful exercise are planning a remonstrance with the ATC. It’s not clear to me what real-world criteria they have to oppose it (precious little, me thinks), but I’ll try to keep abreast of this and inform you.

Greg, if you’re reading — You’re okay, but please, enough of this hypocritical elitism. It’s woefully shabby. Can you and Barksdale just stick to buildings and inanimate objects? You’re both very good at that, although the wheels invariably come flying off every time local preservationists pretend to think about actual people.

Following is the correspondence the Green Mouse stumbled across (thanks, D).

Subject: Family Dollar, Vincennes Street Alcohol Sales Permit Issued – URGENT ACTION NEEDED

New Albany colleagues,

At today’s meeting of the Floyd County Board of the Indiana Alcohol Tobacco Commission, a permit/license for beer and wine sales was approved for the Family Dollar on Vincennes Street. Unfortunately, I was alerted about this meeting at the 11th hour and was luckily able to be in attendance to voice my objection on behalf of myself (a nearby resident) and Indiana Landmarks. Regrettably, only four individuals were in attendance (myself, David Barksdale, John Clere, and a representative of Carter Management), all of whom spoke in opposition to the permit. Other than the Family Dollar representative (who was not from the area and even acknowledged that he was not familiar with the local store), no one spoke in favor of the application. Since the meeting was at 1 in the afternoon, many folks were unable to attend due to work or school obligations.

Shockingly, the Board voted to recommend approval of the license to the State Board! There is a 15-day appeal time frame, the application of which is attached along with the state guidelines that govern the license process. See attachment and link.

Allowing Family Dollar to sell alcohol will be a setback for efforts to revitalize the Vincennes Street Corridor and surrounding historic neighborhoods – Midtown, Uptown, and Depauw Ave. Historic District. Close proximity to New Albany High School is a major concern in addition to trash potential and access to cheap alcohol by a vulnerable population. Successful efforts have been mounted in neighboring states (specifically Dayton , OH, and Louisville, KY) to stop licenses from being granted to specific stores, particularly in vulnerable neighborhoods.

I believe a united effort is needed to stop this! What is uncertain is whether someone who was not in attendance can enjoin an appeal. Shane Gibson, can you see what options we have?

Greg Sekula,
Indiana Landmarks