Cherokee neighborhood wins battle to block Dollar General

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) - After months of protests, concerned south St. Louis citizens got their way.

A Dollar General store won’t be moving into a Benton Park building, just off Cherokee Street.

Nancy Seymour has lived on the corner of Jefferson and Cherokee Street for 31 years. The building across the street was once a grocery store, then a Hoods hardware store.  Now it’s empty, with a dark, overgrown parking lot.

Seymour says, “I have seen drug hookups, prostitution hookups, fights, arguments.”  Despite the problems this vacant building brings, Seymour doesn’t want a Dollar General there, which was the developer’s plan until this week.

She explains, “My concern is that this is not going to help the neighborhood. It’s not going to promote any additional foot traffic to the new local stores.”

Many Cherokee Street business owners also took issue with the Dollar General moving in. Especially because there’s already a dollar store just one block away.

Cherokee Street business owner Jeremy Miller says, “This is a neighborhood that is very interesting and eclectic, and we support businesses like that. And the neighborhood deserves at least the discussion to have something more interesting than Dollar General.”

Nearby neighborhood and business associations voted on the issue.  Concerned citizens wrote letters and made signs.

“Overwhelmingly, everybody in the community said no, this is not something we wanted,” says Rebecca Bolte, who runs a Cherokee Street button shop.

The developer may have listened.  According to the property owner’s attorney, the closing should have happened September 2nd, but was called off.  The Dollar General project is now cancelled.

It’s not clear whether the protests were directly tied to the deal falling through, and the developer was not available for comment.  Either way, those opposed to the Dollar General are thrilled.

Bolte says, “I feel like it was an overwhelming success that the neighborhood came together, decided what we wanted to do, and we made it happen.”

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