Clean Sweep: Agreement with Liquor Store Piggy-backs on Effort to Clean Up Bellingham Square

One week after Chelsea and State Police announced a major criminal sweep of Bellingham Square – with 48 arrests logged in one week – the Chelsea Licensing Board announced an agreement with a frequently troubled liquor store in the Square that could further help improve conditions in the city’s center.

While there are numerous stipulations in the agreement with Heller’s Liquors, perhaps the most important one for quality of life purposes is that Heller’s has voluntarily agreed to stop selling ‘nips.’

Nips are small bottles of liquor about the size of a single ‘shot’ of alcohol, and can be obtained at a low cost – meaning they are the libation of choice for the n’aer do wells who so frequently congregate in the Square and just as frequently can be observed drinking ‘nips’ in public.

With Heller’s agreeing to stop the sale of nips, that leaves virtually nowhere in the direct vicinity of the Square to obtain such items.

In addition to that, Heller’s has agreed to a one-week suspension starting on Sept. 1st.

One of the points of contention is the use of their back door, which the Commission agreed to let them continue using.

However, Commissioners warned them sternly that they must police the door themselves and no future trouble will be tolerated – either at the front or back door.

“Any future violations will be dealt with very harshly,” wrote Jim Dwyer in an e-mail about the agreement.

City Manager Jay Ash said he believed it was a good step in the right direction for changing the culture and the clientele of Bellingham Square.

“As we continue to take steps to clean-up activiities in Bellingham Square, the Licensing Commission action represents another victory,” said Ash. “We’re winning many battles, but the ultimate victory is still many more initiatives away. However, I’m confident that efforts like that made by the Licensing Commission will lead us to eliminating the negatives that have held back the reputation of Bellingham Square.”

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