The grocery store on the southeast side will be modeled after the one in Ohio

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – City officials have made no secret of wanting a new grocery store on the southeast side.

And they already have a role model they want to emulate.

Fort Wayne officials plan to use Market on the Green — a nonprofit, full-service grocery store — located in Toledo, Ohio, as a base for one here.

Created by ProMedica, a major healthcare provider with hospitals in Ohio and Michigan, Market on the Green serves a designated food desert in downtown Toledo, according to its website.

City officials may use some of the more than $50 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds the city is expected to receive to create a similar grocery store here.

“We saw the need for a grocery store on the southeast side that offered fresh food and conveniences, and we started looking for a model,” said Nancy Townsend, director of community development for Fort Wayne. “We found one nearby.”

Market on the Green offers everything from fresh produce to meats, wines and beers and household cleaning supplies as well as health and beauty products. It offers curbside pickup as well as delivery.

Plus, it has a mobile market that brings produce, meat, dairy, and other groceries to a variety of accommodations in Toledo.

“ProMedica became aware of the health issues in the community they served in Toledo, and recognized nutrition may be contributing to some of the health issues they were seeing,” Townsend said.

A new grocery store on the southeast side has been buzzing for years.

While the South East has a Kroger in Southgate and places like Utopia Community Grocery on Oxford Avenue, officials have continually floated the idea of ​​a new grocery store that could serve more people living in food deserts.

Areas highlighted in green are USDA designated food deserts or areas considered low income and low access to nutritious foods (Source: USDA Economic Research Service)

The US Department of Agriculture defines food deserts as low-income areas that also have low access to nutritious food. According to the most recent data, several neighborhoods in south and southeast Fort Wayne are considered food desert territory.

Mayor Tom Henry mentioned the need for a new grocery store during his State of the City address last month, and city officials listed it as one of the top projects to be created with the funds. of the US rescue plan.

“Access to a neighborhood market can have a positive impact on neighborhood health conditions, employment opportunities, and well-being,” city officials wrote in their use of the proposed neighborhood fund. the American Rescue Plan Act.

Townsend added that the demand for groceries is there.

“We’ve worked with the community and we have great partnerships within the Southeast community,” Townsend said. “The southeast side wants it, and we have a proven model.”

ProMedica officials were unavailable for comment this week, but Townsend said the health network is helping Fort Wayne implement its own version of Market on the Green. When that will happen and where it will be located is still up in the air.

But for Townsend, it’s no longer a question of “if” it will happen.

“I feel passionate about it. I think it will be a success,” she said.

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