A proposal to add a liquor-sales outlet to a Mount Royal-area neighborhood shopping center has met with a loud protest from community groups in Baltimore's Bolton Hill and Madison Park neighborhoods.
Rite Aid pharmacy is seeking to move a license to one of its stores in the Bolton Plaza shopping center in the 200 block of McMechen St., according to papers filed at the city liquor board. The giant drug store chain acquired the license from a pharmacy it bought in the 5400 block of Harford Road in Hamilton.
"Market surveys have indicated that [liquor sales] are an added convenience our customers want," said Sarah Datz, a Rite Aid spokeswoman based in Harrisburg, Pa.
The license transfer -- scheduled to be discussed by the liquor board today -- would permit Monday-to-Saturday sales of bottled spirits and beer at the store. Sunday sales would not be permitted.
Members of the Mount Royal Improvement Association, a group that represents residents in the historic preservation district that fans out along Bolton Street and Park Avenue, have launched a vigorous campaign to keep the liquor sales outlet from opening in their community.
"Our community already supports three liquor stores . We do not need another," said Georgia Hurff, a resident of the 1700 block of Linden Ave.
Residents say their neighborhood has a problem with public urination and public drinking, as well as litter from glass bottles.
"There are mornings when the alley reeks of urine," said Deborah H. Diehl, a resident of the 1700 block of Linden Ave.
She said those who drink on the street toss liquor bottles over her backyard fence.
Over the past few weeks, community activists used an e-mail network of 90 Bolton Hill computer owners to rally against the proposed license change. They also distributed fliers, mailed a community newsletter and discussed the issue at meetings.
"We've had an incredible response. The neighborhood is overwhelmingly against having an additional liquor outlet. The neighborhood is not against Rite Aid," said Doreen Rosenthal, the Mount Royal Improvement Association's president.
Community groups to the immediate east and west of Eutaw Place also have lined up against the license transfer.
"We look out our windows and see the people drinking as they walk up the street. We find the bottles in the tree wells and in our window boxes," said John Burleigh, a Madison Avenue resident and official of the Madison Park Improvement Association.
Datz, the Rite Aid spokeswoman said, "We are doing everything we possibly can do to make sure the store is well-run, safe and secure for our customers . We have made a significant investment there."
Pub Date: 2/05/98