Studies have shown that some Wyandotte County residents lacked access to fresh and healthy food, and in the past few years, several new grocery stores have been added throughout the community as part of the Healthy Communities effort.
The latest in the effort to build new grocery stores is under discussion in the downtown area of the city. A proposal to build a new $11.5 million grocery store on property near 11th and State, near Big Eleven Lake and the John F. Kennedy Recreation Center, is making its way through committee meetings.
“That was the first step to start to create a TIF (tax-increment financing) district, just south of the Big 11 area,” said Doug Bach, UG deputy administrator, about a recent committee meeting. He said the committee decided to advance the issue to a UG Commission meeting coming up Oct. 17, where the commission will consider the blight study for the area and set a public hearing date. A recent UG committee meeting was crowded and showed a lot of public interest in the issue.
According to standing committee agenda documents, a TIF and community improvement district are being considered for the area. The UG received a proposal for a grocery store development from R.H. Johnson, according to the documents. Bach said the only audience question at the committee meeting was a clarification on where the TIF district is.
The store proposed for the downtown area, by the Charles Ball group, would be more similar to the Sunfresh built at 18th and I-70. According to agenda documents, several vacant and blighted buildings would be demolished and replaced by a new 40,000-square-foot building near 11th and State.
At the Oct. 17 meeting, the UG Commission is expected to consider a resolution establishing a blight finding for the district, and to schedule a public hearing date for Nov. 21 to consider the creation of the TIF and CID districts, according to the standing committee agenda.
The downtown area grocery store is the latest new grocery on the community’s list. Currently under construction are a Save-a-Lot grocery store in the Argentine area and also a new expanded grocery store to replace one at Wyandotte Plaza at 78th and State. Also planned is a Walmart Neighborhood Market carrying groceries near the new Save-a-Lot store in Argentine. In the past several years, new grocery stores have been built at 18th and I-70, at 55th and Leavenworth Road, and in the Turner area not far from I-635. The Piper area, which was vocal several years ago about wanting a grocery store, has a large grocery section including fresh produce inside Walmart and Sam’s Club. Some of the projects have been built or started with tax-increment financing.
The Argentine Save-a-Lot store is a small grocery store, while the one proposed for downtown is a larger store, probably similar to the Sunfresh at 18th and I-70. Developers have said the new Price Chopper at Wyandotte Plaza will be one of the largest Price Choppers in the Kansas City area.