City could help 2 grocers bring relief to NW Jacksonville’s food desert

City Council funds Rowe’s IGA on Commonwealth, Winn-Dixie shows interest in filling the Publix vacancy in Gateway

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The city of Jacksonville is taking steps to help Northwest Jacksonville residents living in a food desert.

Earlier this week City Council approved a $750,000 grant to Rowe’s IGA to renovate a store Harvey’s closed two years ago in the Commonwealth Shopping Plaza on Edgewood Avenue. Seven miles away, Winn-Dixie has shown interest in filling the spot where Publix is currently located in the Gateway Shopping Plaza in Norwood on Norwood Avenue

Publix announced it will close before the end of the year after not renewing its lease.

Winn-Dixie is asking the city for $850,000 in financial incentives to open at Gateway spot. Without the chain making an agreement with the city, this area will be left without a grocery store and fresh food will be inaccessible to residents.

“It’s kind of tragic,” Shahid Jones, who lives in the area, said. “I’m probably going to have to end up going to a different location. This is way more convenient though. We all need a convenient place to get groceries."

Residents are hopeful grocery stores and the city will meet those agreements making food more accessible.

Deloris Jackson, who lives in the Paxon area, said happy to see Rowe’s IGA coming to Commonweath Plaza.

“Butter, bread and milk. We’re always running out,” Jackson said. “We are the forgotten ones over here. We don’t have a decent restaurant, we don’t have a bank, so we just are left out.”

The Daily Record also reports that the City Council also approved $300,000 to finance four pilot programs to help residents in Northwest Jacksonville to get access to fresh food.

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