Jeramey Jannene

Controversial Bay View Gas Station Can Operate All Night

Speedway installs protective glass, hires security, so council gives it another chance.

By - Jul 7th, 2021 03:30 pm
Speedway gas station at 369 E. Oklahoma Ave. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Speedway gas station at 369 E. Oklahoma Ave. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

A southside gas station and convenience store can again be open 24 hours a day after installing a $100,000 protective glass shield and hiring a late-night security team.

The Common Council unanimously approved a new extended hours license for the Speedway store at the corner of S. Howell Ave. and E. Oklahoma Ave. near Humboldt Park.

Earlier this year, the Bay View store was getting robbed so frequently that employees were successfully turning would-be thieves away because of a lack of cash.

“Investigation revealed that a subject walked into the station and demanded money while tapping her waist implying she had a weapon,” reads a police report regarding a January 2nd incident that occurred at approximately 5:38 a.m. “When the clerk told her they had just been robbed and didn’t have any money to give her, the subject left.” The store had been robbed at 12:16 a.m.

From December 22nd through January 2nd, police responded to six reported thefts. The police department designated the gas station, located at 369 E. Oklahoma Ave., a “nuisance property” on January 8th. By February 11th officers had been called to the store 14 times in 2021.

In April, area Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic championed renewing the business’s license, but denying an extended hour license that would allow it to operate between 12 a.m. and 5 a.m.

“I feel that some mitigation has been implemented, but it’s not going far enough. I worry about the employees and the surrounding neighbors,” said the alderwoman.

The Common Council backed her suggestion, with other members expressing frustration at the amount of police resources being consumed by the station and the perceived inaction by management.

But now protective glass has been installed and a security team is present at night. The council is ready to give the company another try at operating the gas station around the clock.

“I almost see this as another trial,” said Dimitrijevic at a special meeting of the Licenses Committee Wednesday morning.

Speedway’s attorney, Brian Randall of Davis|Kuelthau, thanked MPD for working with the company to address the issues.

But Dimitrijevic warned that if things get worse, she might oppose a license renewal. “If we see a negative trend again, we may have to reconsider things,” she said.

 

According to city license records, there are 11 Speedway stations in the city, but only four are permitted to operate 24 hours a day.

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