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Skid Row Rehab Center Protests Restaurant Serving Alcohol Downstairs

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The Great Balls on Tires food truck is causing a stir downtown. The road stove, which has plans to move into its first bricks-and-mortar location on 5th and Main, is facing some trouble acquiring a liquor license.

The application has sparked controversy within the community, namely because the restaurant will be located on the bottom floor of a shared housing unit called New Genesis that serves as a rehab facility. There are now protests and hearings being held to halt the restaurant's plans.

Great Balls on Tires is applying for a beer and wine license, as their request for a full liquor license to serve spirits was declined in March.

The concern is that this next step in gentrification will alienate the local population and put those seeking recovery at risk.

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Says the Times:

Skid row is home to 10,000 people, more than half living in the streets or shelters, in group homes and residential treatment centers, according to 2010 census data. Others occupy apartments, lofts or single-room occupancy hotels. Skid Row Housing Trust runs 23 renovated hotels and buildings for chronically homeless and disabled people ... The area took shape partly due to a decades-long city policy of "containment" of homeless people on the east side of downtown. It is crammed with social services, including substance abuse programs and sobriety meetings — 80 by one resident's count.

Of course, the area is hardly a sober zone. The new restaurant would hardly be the only option in town for those seeking a tipple. The area is home to countless upscale cocktail bars, including Las Perlas, the Varnish, Spring Street, and more. And if someone really wants to get a drink, there are plenty of liquor stores in the neighborhood as well.

Both sides argue that they want what's best for the community. On one side it's improvement of the neighborhood through growth, and the other it's ensuring that those on the road to recovery are presented with minimal temptation.