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Banquet facility plan is drawing opposition

After no resolution of a request to City Hall for a Special Use Permit to open a former bank as a banquet facility, Councilmember Richard Fontana will try to resolve the dispute at a Saturday morning meeting in the George Arthur Center near Schiller Park.

The proposed banquet facility is just down Genesee Street from a mosque and school.

"I would like to hear directly from the business owner, looking to do something positive in the neighborhood," Fontana said.

"Now, what we don't want to see is a building open and then keys handed to people running parties there on their own."

Planned operator Johnnie White says his facility would be family-oriented, wouldn't be open very late at night and would only hold about 100 people.

But Adel Mumassr, president of the Arab American Business Association, isn't convinced.

"Bringing that kind of element to the area is going to be difficult to protect the children in the neighborhood and the individuals going in and out of the mosque and the schools."