When will this area have more options?
AUGUSTA, Ga (WRDW / WAGT) – For years we have covered the ongoing conversations about the revitalization of South Augusta and the Laney Walker neighborhood. We also talked about the lack of resources when it comes to fresh and affordable food. Now two grocery stores are in the process of opening in South Augusta, but they are still miles from Laney Walker. So when will this area have more options?
The Laney Walker Farmer’s Market is really the only chance for the community to buy fresh food. But this market is only open to the community once a month, so managers know this is only a temporary solution to a major food desert problem.
When the 15th Street Kroger closed in 2017, it left a hole in the community larger than its empty parking lot.
âYou see the problems with access to food that we have in Augusta. We are known as the Garden City, so where are the gardens? Said Rebecca Van Loenen, Augusta Locally Grown.
A food desert with nowhere other than the dollar store for food. So groups like Augusta Locally Grown and the American Heart Association hold a farmers market once a month for people to buy fresh produce. But once a month is not enough.
âWe want long term solutions and policy changes so that we have these sustainable programs for people to get food,â said Kayla Kranenberg of the American Heart Association.
When the Augusta Community Center opens on Fenwick Street next spring, Augusta Locally Grown plans to open a year-round farmers market there. However, this is not a real grocery store.
âThis is my community. Yes, I live on the outskirts but that matters to me, âsaid Loenen.
Commission Augusta recently voted to zone this property on Peach Orchard Road for a new Aldi. While it may help, it is five miles from the Laney Walker area.
âIf you think about what you get in a normal grocery store in a week and how you can haul it on a bus or walk back with that,â Kranenberg said.
The MCG Foundation has made a commitment to the community to open a new grocery store near the site of the old Kroger. No plan is yet set in stone.
âWe probably think that a grocery store can take a year or two before we can actually innovate on one,â said Ian Mercier, of the MCG Foundation.
What we do know about this possible grocery store is that the MCG Foundation wants it to be on the 15th Street side where the hospitals are located. They say they are working on the construction of new office buildings for the university on the site of the old Kroger first.
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