Another Convenience Store?

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Tonight, the Alameda Planning Board is set to vote on a permit for a convenience store at 1623 Park Street (at Pacific Avenue, one block east of Lincoln Avenue).

It will be interesting to see how this vote goes.

Flyers asking for residents to request that the permit be denied were found at the 7-Eleven at Lincoln and Oak over the past weekend. The arguments on the flyer were that the area has enough convenience stores and that more crowding on Park Street isn’t desirable.

While we don’t know exactly what the convenience store would look like, it is true that Park Street needs more business. But any business? Maybe not.

Generally speaking, Alamedans wants businesses that they are comfortable frequenting and proud to have in their neighborhood. And as is the case in many areas of town, convenience stores fulfill a very specific need and aren’t the pride or the most desirable aspect of the neighborhood.

Park Street has a great grocery shop and market area nearby — at the Marketplace. So this shop might not be very likely to stock lots of fruits and vegetables, though the market at Park and Lincoln does sell a bit of fresh produce.

More beer, wine and cigarettes? In this economy, such a store might be one of the most likely businesses that can succeed. But long term, it might not represent the grand desires of the Park Street community, which is hoping to make the area near the Park Street Bridge as interesting and inviting as possible.

With the car dealerships gone and a few used-car merchants hanging on, though, these are tough times. And without other merchants clamoring to open their doors at 1623 Park, the entrepreneur behind the proposed convenience store may get his thumbs up from the city.

Stay tuned to see how the planning board votes.

Janet Levaux