MORGAN PARK — City attorneys have been asked to find “possible solutions” to what Southwest Side Ald. Matt O’Shea (19th) has described as an expanding nuisance of dollar stores in Chicago.
Dollar stores, namely Dollar Tree in O’Shea’s Far South Side neighborhoods, have been “irresponsible operators,” unneighborly and unwilling to work with public officials over the past few years, according to the alderman.
“I have outlined a wide variety of problems related to dollar stores and their operations and asked our attorneys to explore possible solutions,” O’Shea told Block Club Chicago.
The request comes days after O’Shea went public with his adamant opposition to Dollar Tree’s plans to open a fifth location within the 19th Ward neighborhoods of Beverly, Mount Greenwood and Morgan Park. In a scathing email to residents, O’Shea said Dollar Tree has regularly created “public safety or quality of life problems for our community.”
The alderman noted the current state of the Dollar Tree store at 10601 S. Pulaski Road in Mount Greenwood, of which the facade and gutters have been crumbling along the front of the building for weeks, “representing a … public safety risk to pedestrian and vehicle traffic.” Photos the alderman shared of the same location show trash bins overflowing and garbage tossed around a dumpster.
“For years I have tried to work collaboratively with Dollar Tree at the local and corporate levels to address these issues with nothing to show for it,” O’Shea wrote.
Similar problems persist at Dollar Tree’s three other 19th Ward locations, O’Shea added. The store at 9255 S. Western Ave. in Beverly, he told CBS-2, looks “absolutely filthy.”
The problem isn’t confined to the Far South Side, the alderman said. O’Shea told Block Club he’s spoken with 35 of other alderpeople — 70 percent of City Council — who have said their wards have also experienced problems with Dollar Tree, Family Dollar or Dollar General stores. Dollar Tree’s parent company, Dollar Tree, Inc., also operates Family Dollar stores nationwide.
O’Shea said “ongoing conversations” with the city’s Business Affairs and Consumer Protection agency have also progressed, with some “potential legislative ideas to research.”
“Dollar Tree is a bad operator that has been squeezing profits out of community for years with little regard to the problems they create,” O’Shea said. “It is my hope that by working with BACP we are able to finally hold them accountable.”
In O’Shea’s 19th Ward, Dollar Tree intends to open its newest store at 11055 S. Western Ave., a storefront that most recently was a CVS Pharmacy. Representatives from Dollar Tree have not responded to requests for comment.
“They largely ignore the issues,” O’Shea told Block Club, noting that someone from the corporation has requested a meeting since his most recent statement. “However… they still have not addressed the many problems that are documented in the pictures I put out.”
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