Springfield city officials are scheduled to have a closed-door meeting with Kroger executives today to discuss the grocery chains decision to close their location on South Limestone.
“We are meeting with Kroger to discuss the future of the building,” Springfield Mayor Warren Copeland said at Tuesday night’s commission meeting. “That is the first concern we have, we want that building left available for someone else to go in there.”
Springfield City, Clark County and State of Ohio officials, local pastors, community foundations, organizations and representative from the local NAACP, Clark County Combined Health District (CCCHD) and Mercy Health held a meeting on Friday to discuss strategies in preparation for the meeting, a statement from the City of Springfield said.
“Our community’s strength derives from our ability to come to the table and compromise, to work together toward building a stronger future for everyone in our neighborhoods,” Springfield City Manager Bryan Heck said about the meeting.
Kroger announced on Jan. 31 that their store, located at 1822 S. Limestone St., will close on Tuesday, March 3, as part of the company’s Restock Kroger plan, the company said.
The store’s closure will affect an area of Springfield that already has limited options for grocery needs, Copeland said previously.
Neighborhoods south of downtown Springfield will be considered a food desert with the closure, the CCCHD said. Food deserts are defined as geographical areas devoid of fresh fruit, vegetables and other health foods, according to the CCCHD.
The next nearest grocery to the community is 4 miles away, Kali Lawrence, executive director of the Springfield Promise Neighborhood and south side resident said previously.
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Several residents expressed worry about a food desert on the south side at Tuesday evening’s Springfield City Commission meeting.
“We are fully aware this is a serious issue and we are trying to deal with it,” Copeland said to residents. “We understand this is a very serious issue and we are trying to deal with it.”
Other Springfield City Commissioners echoed Copeland’s thoughts.
“Nobody wants a desert. We don’t want it. We want to put as much pressure as we can, on the right people, to make sure there is not a food desert in that area,” City Commissioner Rob Rue said.
City leaders will host a community forum at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 18 at the Dome, located at 700 S. Limestone St. to update the community about the meeting with Kroger.
Anyone needing transportation to the meeting can text RIDE2DOME to 41411 for a free ride.
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