Springfield non-profit receives award from state award for free shuttle service after Kroger closure

The former Kroger grocery store on South Limestone Street. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

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The former Kroger grocery store on South Limestone Street. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

The Abilities Connection has been awarded the Community Impact Award from the Ohio Public Transit Association.

TAC was given the award for their work with the City of Springfield and the Clark County-Springfield Transportation Coordinating Committee to provide free shuttles to the grocery store after Kroger on South Limestone closed in March, creating a food desert for residents.

“When the need arose to fill in the transportation for the food desert when the Kroger closed, it gave us at TAC the ability to meet an unmet need, which is really our mission. Our mission is to help people with disabilities but also to provide for unmet needs in the community and try to prevent any barriers in our own community,” Jim Zahora, CEO at TAC said.

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OPTA, which works closely with the Ohio Department of Transportation, is the state-wide advocacy organization for public transit in the state of Ohio. The Community Impact Award is one of OPTA’s Excellence Awards, honoring individuals and organizations who have exemplified leadership and advocacy for public transit in Ohio.

It’s given to transit employees or organizations who have had a significant impact within their community.

“This is the perfect example of the types of projects I love to talk about when I got to Washington D.C. or when I’m in the statehouse advocating on the behalf of public transit,” Matt Carl, executive director of OPTA said.

Zahora said to TAC, winning the Community Impact Award “strengths our resolve to be better community partners.”

“Until you go through something like this, you don’t realize how much more you can do,” Zahora said. “It means the world to us, and we thank OPTA, Clark County Transportation and the City of Springfield.

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