Letters to the Editor

MAYOR SHOULD SUPPORT REFERENDUM

Editor:

I have read Mayor Doscher’s recent letter to the local residents regarding his opinion about the alcohol referendum for Bellevue, and it leaves me wondering what he wants for this town.

As the mayor, his job is to represent the people, and hopefully make decisions and be an activist for the businesses that keep this town afloat.

I wonder if he's looked at the upsides to alcohol sales in town? The tax revenue alone could help to fund certain projects, events and otherwise interesting happenings that people might actually want to go to. As a Bellevue resident under the age of 35, there have been maybe two events over the past decade that I've had interest in. However, I leave Bellevue often to attend art shows, musical events, wine tastings, beer tastings, roller skating parties, independent film screenings, etc.

There are a lot of young people in Bellevue that are doing the exact same thing. They live here, some work here, but very few spend their money here. Which leads me to the question, if these events were happening in town, would these people stay here to spend their money? Would it help to fill some empty storefronts? Not only with "bars," but with boutiques, eateries and specialty stores?

There's a formula to successful towns, and alcohol is just one factor. I'm curious if anyone can name three dry towns that are flourishing, with occupied storefronts, and a rising housing market (without government subsidies)? Anyone that knows good business, knows that when a town has a flourishing business district, and a good housing market, everyone wins! Restaurants will open, even if they can’t afford a liquor license, the fact that other successful businesses are in town will be enough of a draw. Young professionals would begin to consider Bellevue for their first home, being that they have options for entertainment, dining, shopping, churches and schools. Only then could we truly claim the Bellevue motto to "Live, Worship, Shop".

When is the last time you were truly able to "shop" in town? Dollar stores and check cashing stores are far from my idea of shopping. If the town wasn't stuck in the prohibition era, in conjunction with Mayor Doscher's pessimistic mindset, perhaps we could move move into the 21st Century? With 15 churches and nine schools on or near the Lincoln Avenue business district, the number of liquor licenses would be limited. Why was this left out of his letter to the locals?

This is the first time I've heard him step up with a strong opinion about anything. Where was he when the dollar stores were opening two blocks from each other? Or when the check cashing places were popping up on Lincoln Avenue? What does he have to say about new discount cigarette shop that is opening? As residents of Bellevue, are you happy with the demographic that the aforementioned businesses are attracting? If so, continue to support the mayor’s movement towards stunting the growth of the community that he was elected represent. We have two choices, move the town towards a model like Sewickley, or McKees Rocks, which do you prefer? Fortunately for us, we already have the opportunity for a head start. There isn't much federal money for towns located outside of city limits, so if we let it run into the ground, we will be on our own to dig it back out.

I'm doing my part, and I'm encouraging others to do their part. I support as many local businesses as possible, visiting the local restaurants, coffee shops and other businesses often. With the countless public parking spaces, on-street and in public lots, there's no reason for the town to be vacant after 7 pm! My family has opened multiple businesses in town, creating jobs, and planning for our future. My family's decision to move Vivo to Sewickley after 11 years of business in Bellevue was influenced by a change in the market demand, requiring a liquor license in order to compete in this new market. Their ability to have a liquor license, a beautiful outdoor seating area, and a local council that does everything they can to facilitate new businesses was also a draw.

Bottom line is that adults enjoy having a cocktail with their meal or during entertainment. Shouldn't they be able to do it in their own town?"

Danina DiBattista
Bellevue

[Editor’s note: A few fact checks: According to the PA Liquor Code, neither granting a license nor the number of licenses issued is controlled by the presence of churches or schools. A perfect example of this is the above-quota license recently issued in Avalon to a location directly across the street from both a church and an elementary school. And no matter how hard we try, we cannot come up with 15 churches and nine schools located in Bellevue within even a block of the Lincoln Avenue business district.]

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