Construction on long-awaited east KC grocery store to start soon

 

It is estimated one in seven Kansas Citians don't have enough to eat. Many live in what is called a food desert, meaning there is not a viable grocery store near them.

But that will soon change for one neighborhood.

A vacant lot has been sitting empty for nearly 10 years, but now city lawmakers have received the green light on a new development that will bring a grocery store to East 39th Street and Prospect Avenue.

Anthony Long passes the lot on a daily basis, often heading to the bus station so he can travel all the way to Independence to buy groceries.

"It is pretty frustrating when you pay your taxes for businesses like that to be in your community, and you have to travel far to go to one. So it is pretty frustrating," Long said.

But soon that bus ride will turn into a short walk once developers clear the lot to make way for a new Aldi food market.

"For far too long, the third district has been home to a food desert," said councilman Jermaine Reed, who has been working for the past two years to bring a grocery store to the area.

Reed said residents in the area don't have many options when it comes to healthy grocery shopping. He is hoping the addition of a new Aldi, complete with fresh produce, will change that.

"That is why we have worked hard to make sure the quality of life for our citizens is one that they can have fresh produce," Reed said.

The $6 million project is funded by private investment from Aldi and public funding, paid in part by a new super tax increment fund.

Residents like Long say the land has sat empty for far too long and hope the new activity is a sign of good things to come for their neighborhood.

Reed expects to break ground within the next two weeks with construction complete by the end of the year.

Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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