Plan pulled for East Side pawn shop
By Bob Okon firstname.lastname@example.org September 28, 2011 2:10PM
Updated: November 11, 2011 4:56PM
JOLIET — CashAmerica has pulled its plan for a Collins Street pawn shop.
CashAmerica and two gold stores have faced stiff resistance from both residents and Joliet City Council members in recent weeks in their efforts to open new locations in Joliet.
A network of neighborhood groups had opposed the CashAmerica plan for a store at 131-133 Collins St. in a strip mall next to Joliet Central High School.
“This was a collaborative effort of the neighborhood councils doing what they were set up to do,” said Amy Sanchez, president of the Collins Street Neighborhood Council.
The Collins Street group was joined by other neighborhood councils in opposing both the CashAmerica store and a gold-buying shop at 425 Collins St.
The Joliet Zoning Board of Appeals unanimously recommended against the gold-buying store earlier this month after hearing from Sanchez and others who opposed the plan. The CashAmerica plan was to go to the zoning board that same day, but the company withdrew its plan so its attorney could meet with opponents.
Joliet attorney Michael Hansen met on Friday with Sanchez and Mac Willis, executive director of the Unity Community Development Corp., which has been instrumental in forming the Collins Street organization and other neighborhood councils on the city’s East Side in the past two years.
Hansen confirmed on Wednesday that the company has decided to drop its proposal for Collins Street but would not elaborate.
Sanchez said she and Willis had made clear that they would continue to oppose the CashAmerica plan.
This is the second time CashAmerica has dropped a plan to open a location in Joliet. The company a year ago had looked at a site on West Jefferson Street but opted against the idea after facing opposition from the St. Patrick’s Neighborhood Association and Cathedral Area Preservation Association.
Meanwhile, another plan to open a Gold and Beyond store in a shopping center at Route 59 and Caton Farm Road was tabled this month after city council members voiced objections to the idea. That plan actually got approval from the zoning board in August when it was presented without any community opposition.
But three council members voiced strong objections, including one who suggested the store would be dealing in stolen property.
Sanchez said she believes the council members share the same concerns that neighborhood groups have about the type of business done by pawn shops and gold-buying stores.
She said council members Terry Morris and Don Fisher were both at a Collins Street Neighborhood Council meeting in August, and they sided with residents who wanted to oppose the CashAmerica plan.
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