FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS — After more than a year of negotiations, Fairview Heights has a new recreational marijuana dispensary.

The dispensary is inside the former Babies R Us store off Illinois 159 in the city’s main shopping district. The company, Ascend, first indicated it’s desire for a location in Fairview Heights in 2019, but city leaders took their time deciding where the city’s lone dispensary would go.

“We wanted to take the learnings from other states and look at what other communities were doing in making our decisions,” said Mayor Mark Kupsky. “The most important thing was to make sure the location was in an area not close to schools, churches, homes, because of the concern some people might have.”

Kupsky said the city’s methodical approach gave officials time to consider specific zoning requirements and ensure any potential location could handle a large influx of traffic. Parking had been a major issue for Ascend’s Collinsville location in early 2020.

“This site provides the infrastructure to easily get people to the site,” Kupsky said. “It has plenty of parking.”

Ascend settled on the location after searching in the vicinity for more than a year, said Chief Revenue Officer Chirs Melilo.

“We’ve looked at a couple of different locations,

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