Rockford aldermen battled back and forth during Monday night’s council meeting on giving Cucina Di Rosa a liquor license so they can have video gaming.
The elected officials nearly split on the decision, denying the license by one vote.
Restaurant owner Rose Mary Provenzano says, “We have done everything by the law [to get the license]. We have filled out all of our paperwork as I should have. We have paid our fees we have done everything.”
Provenzano had a cafe 10 years ago at the same Bell School Road location where she wants to open her new place.
She says times have changed economically since then, and now needs liquor and gaming to keep her prices low.
Provenzano says “To be able to offer a $9, or $8 Panini, this subsidizes the fees that I have, or the money I need to have to pay the rent.”
Area residents nearby in the Red Oaks Estates fear video gaming would bring trouble to the neighborhood, and 1st ward aldermen Tim Durkee sided with his constituents.
Durkee says, “The quality of life and impact on their neighborhoods need to be respected. It is 800 feet from a school.”
But Provenzano says it’s only a small amount of residents that are opposing her. She says, “So we’re gonna let a dozen people stop what Rockford could have by having an authentic Italian cafe brought to Rockford.”
She says she won’t be able to open her business if she doesn’t have liquor and gaming. She adds, “I can’t see it feasible with the high rent that area has.”
Rockford City Attorney Patrick Hayes advised aldermen to approve the liquor license, since Provenzano followed all the guidelines, and it opens the City up for a lawsuit should Provenzano plan to sue.