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Alderman wants moratorium on Dollar Tree stores, says properties are "filthy"

Alderman does not want Dollar Tree in Morgan Park
Alderman does not want Dollar Tree in Morgan Park 02:40

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A Dollar Tree is moving into an abandoned storefront in Morgan Park – but some in the neighborhood aren't happy about it.

As CBS 2's Jermont Terry reported Tuesday night, one alderman is asking the City Council for a moratorium on Dollar Tree stores.

The abandoned storefront in question stands at the intersection of 111th Street and Western Avenue in the southwestern part of Morgan Park. It's prime real estate on a crucial corner – anchored by the Beverly Arts Center.

"That's the gateway to my community," said Ald. Matt O'Shea (19th). "That's the cultural hub of my community."

O'Shea is fighting to keep Dollar Tree from making a dollar at the site.

"I don't want to see a fifth store opening up in my community," he said, "not when this is how they operate."

Here's his gripe – images of dirty lots and trash overflowing at the current Dollar Tree stores in Morgan Park, Beverly, and Mount Greenwood. 


At the Mount Greenwood store, the façade has also been left hanging for months.

"That's dangerous," O'Shea said, "never mind, it says to the community, 'We don't care about how we appear.'"

O'Shea sent a scathing letter to the city's Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection. He is demanding the BACP deny Dollar Tree's license at its proposed new location on 111th Street.

O'Shea also took CBS 2's Terry to an existing Dollar Tree at 92nd Place and Western Avenue, which the alderman called "absolutely filthy."

He pointed out more trash on and near the Dollar Tree property – all issues he says the company ignores. Yet it gets worse when you see what's piling up behind the dumpsters.

"This is years in the making of Dollar Tree operating this way in our community," O'Shea said.

When O'Shea reached out to City Council members, he found the 19th Ward isn't alone.

"I had 15 respond to me in the first 24 hours, saying, 'This is real problem in my community too,'" O'Shea said.

Despite city fines, O'Shea claims nothing has changed – and now, he wants to see the city go even further.

"I want to see a moratorium on these types of businesses opening up in our city," O'Shea said. "This happens in communities all across the city of Chicago."

But judging by the sign on the door, Dollar Tree is ready to move in.

The company said in a statement: "Our stores also strive to be good community partners," and they "repurpose previously vacant retail space in neighborhoods that have retail needs, keeping centers and other adjacent businesses open and serving communities, especially those that are underserved."

Yet O'Shea says it's time the city holds Dollar Tree accountable.

"If they don't want to clean up their act, they don't want to clean up their stores, don't want to be good neighbors, then get the hell out of Chicago," O'Shea said.

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