Recovery task force launching a “grocery store initiative”

FLINT – A new, “two-pronged” approach to reinstating easy access to grocery stores for the Flint neighborhoods facing the economic and water crises has been unveiled for the coming years, per an announcement from the Flint Economic Recovery Task Force.

The plan, called the Grocery Stores Initiative includes improvements to the four grocery stores already in existence on the north end of Flint.

“In Detroit, there is one full-service grocery store per 10,000 residents; in Ann Arbor, there are four grocery stores per 10,000 residents; and in Flint, there are 0.4 grocery stores per 10,000 residents,” Steve Branch, Chief of Staff to Flint Mayor Karen Weaver. “It makes it twice as hard to have access to clean, healthy food.”

The decision to focus on building two smaller grocery stores came out of market statistics, which suggest building one large store for the areas affected by the water crisis would drive smaller grocers. Flint’s Economic Recovery Task Force is partnering with the North Flint Reinvestment Corporation and Fresh Start for the new stores, along with local funders and resources such as Streetsense, Michigan Good Food Fund and the MEDC.

Much of the financial is expected to come from funders invested in the Genesee Chamber Foundation, such as MEDC, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Michigan Good Food Fund, the Ruth Mott Foundation and the MSHDA.

Branch said it is likely the first store will begin construction in the third-quarter of 2017; the second in 2018.

The four stores eyed for improvement on the north end of Flint are Mr. B’s Foodland on Dupont St., Hutchinson Food and Drug on Saginaw St., Landmark Food Center on Pierson Rd. and the Local Grocer on Martin Luther King Ave.

“I want to thank all of the people and organizations that worked together to makes this project a reality,” said Mayor Weaver. “A primary goal of this initiative is to improve the access Flint residents have to healthy and nutritious foods, especially those high in iron, calcium and vitamin C, which have shown to mitigate the effects of lead exposure.”

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