Minneapolis neighbors concerned with transfer of liquor license at Merwin Liquors

Minneapolis residents raised concerns Tuesday night about a proposal to transfer the liquor license for Merwin Liquors, a troubled spot known for high crime, to another entity.

Trahern Pollard, who runs the outreach organization We Push for Peace, hopes to transfer the liquor license for the liquor store to his company TXT Wine & Spirits.

However, an investigation by Attorney General Keith Ellison's office this year found there had been a significant decrease in violence and drug sales at that spot.

Tuesday night, community members, city officials, and activists gathered at the Northside Community Center to voice their concerns about the City of Minneapolis' current consideration of transferring the liquor license to Pollard.

Years of hurt, trauma, and grief echoed through the room as many opposed the liquor license transfer.

A community member remarked, "There’s too much death and violence in our communities around alcohol and substance abuse. We have four liquor stores in a four-mile area. That’s ridiculous. It’s killing us."

Merwin Liquors is a known hotspot for crime, at historically one of the most dangerous intersections in the city, Lyndale and Broadway. Much of the crime happens around Merwin's and a Winner Gas station next door -- that has earned the nickname "Murder Station".

Another added, "Last year, my son was shot up by that liquor store. Do I want to see another liquor store there? No, I don’t. Putting a liquor store there is not going to do anything but attract more and more violence."

Instead of a liquor store, most people tossed out alternatives, like instead opening up a community center, tutoring center, or youth center. Despite the criticism, many acknowledged Trahern Pollard for his positive contributions to the community.

Trahern Pollard of TXT Wine & Spirits defended his vision, saying, "We’ve been there for a year. My work already speaks for it. I opened the resource center to offer services for some of the people that might’ve been affected."

A few attendees supported Pollard's idea for a liquor store, suggesting that the community should take responsibility for their children's actions rather than blame a business. One individual pointed out, "Y’all need to take accountability for your own children and grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. Because I know where mine's is, my mom knew where I was. You want to keep blaming this specific spot."

The city will review all feedback from the meeting when the issue is presented to a City Council committee later this month.