Target, Park Group Clash Over Liquor License

Alderman and other community members have expressed concern about the proximity to a park and a school.

By Katie Akin

Target’s application for a liquor license at its East 53rd Street location is still pending, according to the Illinois Liquor Control Commission. 

The store, which will be opening to the public next week, applied for a liquor license from the city last September. However, Target did not hold any public forums for residents to discuss the implications of obtaining a liquor license. When applying for a liquor license, business owners must notify every registered voter who lives within 250 feet of the retail location about the change. “We could find no one who has received such notice,” Nichols Park Advisory Council Vice President Van Bistrow wrote in an e-mail. 

Earlier this month, the Nichols Park Advisory Council (NPAC) voted unanimously to oppose the liquor license. Alderman Sophia King has also voiced opposition. 

“Liquor sales would take place directly across 53rd Street from Murray Language Academy and the Nichols Park field house, both of which house many activities for young children,” Bistrow wrote. The NPAC is also concerned that a nearby retailer of alcohol would encourage increased litter and public drunkenness in the park.  

According to Chicago liquor license application policy, a decision on the license must be made within 90 days of the submission of the application. There are 46 days left within this time frame. After a citywide license is obtained, businesses must apply for a separate Illinois state liquor license.  

Until Target gets a license, it will not be able to sell any type of alcohol within the store. Target could not be reached for comment. 

Lee Harris contributed reporting.