Metropolis’s plan to purchase shuttered Aldi website one other welcome step to remove meals deserts

Shopping for groceries shouldn’t be an impediment course. However it’s for thousands and thousands of Individuals, and hundreds of Chicagoans — most of them Black — who stay in meals deserts.

The pandemic hasn’t made issues simpler. Individuals with out a automobile have needed to depend on the CTA, which, at instances, scaled again on providers. Senior residents, the disabled and the chronically sick could have hesitated to take public transit altogether.

Easy accessibility to wholesome, recent meals is a proper. The extra grocery shops in place, the much less our most weak communities will endure from meals insecurity and illnesses which can be prompted or aggravated by a poor weight loss program, similar to coronary heart illness, diabetes and hypertension.

So we’re all in with Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s determination to spend $700,000 to accumulate a shuttered Aldi grocery retailer website in West Garfield Park. Town’s objective is to convey an analogous enterprise there to maintain the West Facet from changing into an even bigger meals desert, because the Solar-Occasions’ Fran Spielman reported.

Nonetheless, questions and scrutiny concerning the acquisition authority granted to the mayor by the Metropolis Council’s Housing Committee Tuesday are legitimate. As but, there’s no concrete plan to interchange the previous Aldi at 3835 W. Madison St, which was closed final October after three many years.

If the plan is accredited by the council, the previous Aldi can be acquired utilizing tax increment financing funds, in accordance with the Division of Planning and Growth. Town might then search a request-for-proposals for a brand new grocery retailer, and will use the cash generated by the Madison-Central TIF district to repair the property up for a possible tenant.

That’s precisely the type of venture TIFs have been meant to help.

Aldi cited a number of components when it determined to shut the shop, together with declining gross sales and elevated bills. There have been additionally “safety issues,” council members and different metropolis officers acknowledged. That’s a urgent matter that should be addressed, as no enterprise will wish to find in an space the place staff and clients received’t really feel protected.

It’s additionally a matter of cash. Spending almost $1 million on a website that may’t entice a tenant can be large waste.

Residents in West and East Garfield Park and Austin have simply two grocery choices now: a Save-A-Lot on South Pulaski Highway and one other Aldi at Chicago and Kedzie avenues, rather less than two miles from the shuttered retailer.

However for residents who lack transportation, that’s not a lot comfort. Small nook shops could be inside an affordable strolling distance, however usually don’t have recent produce and meats.

Individuals in wealthier communities usually have an abundance of grocery shops to select from. Individuals in neighborhoods which can be much less well-off ought to have the identical.

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