On behalf of the thousands of neighbors located in the Center City, I wish to express our collective frustration on the retail void that exists in Mapleton Fall Creek and beyond. The people most in need of affordable groceries (lower income residents without cars) are forced to shop at tiny expensive local markets with an extremely limited selection of grocery items. I can get in my car and drive to the suburbs. Some people who live in this area are limited to buying only the amount of groceries they can carry on foot or transport on a bus.

Retailers seemingly have a bias against coming into our underserved neighborhoods. I didn’t realize that you needed a minimum income to shop at Wal-Mart or Meijer. Other communities, like Chicago, use leverage to motivate retailers to take less desirable sites in exchange for more desirable ones. Is this a viable option for us?

How can our only option for a grocery store be in a wetlands area where native species of trees and wildlife live? We’re in the middle of the city. Crown Hill is the only place I know of in this area where deer can roam freely and butterflies don’t fear windshields of passing commuters. Geeze. Come on Wal-Mart and Panera Bread! Sniff the hand. We’re nice. AND WE’RE STARVING FOR RETAIL.

Despite this retail void, the majority of my neighborhood association board is not in favor of developing the wetlands of Crown Hill. We believe area residents desperately want and need retail services to return to our immediate community. Such services greatly assist in the continued rejuvenation of the Center City. Where possible, our board strongly desires these services being located in areas already commercially zoned, utilizing vacant, eyesore storefronts and commercial buildings located along 38th Street and sprinkled throughout Mapleton Fall Creek.

Lorraine Phillips Vavul

President, Historic Meridian Park Neighborhood Association

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