DAYTON — Residents of West Dayton feel the lack of grocery stores in the area has caused a “food desert,” leaving many without access to fresh food options.
"It's getting crazy, I've never seen it so bad," resident Judy Cameron told News Center 7's Mike Campbell.
One resident has taken his concerns to City Hall, hoping officials can help provide viable food options instead of high-priced convenience stores.
“Let's get some adequate stores and get some adequate food to let people feed themselves and their kids,“ resident Keith Lander said. “I'm going to keep talking about it until we get this desert with some water in it.”
Aldi’s, the most recent full-service grocery store to leave the area, closed its doors a few weeks ago. The store was located in the Westown Shopping Center, around the corner from Gettysburg Avenue where an abandoned Kroger has sat since 2008.
“It's just hard and we're losing a lot of people in the neighborhood, lots of places abandoned and boarded up, it's not good for the property value,” Cameron said.
City leaders say they're looking for community based initiatives like the proposed Gem City Market cooperative food market and locally owned stores. They expect no help from large, corporate grocery chains.
“They're worried about quarterly reports, shareholders, they don't really care about feeding people, that's what their interest is,” said Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.
The privately developed Gem City Market project has raised $2 million toward their $4 million goal. An added boost came from Mayor Whaley accepting a $150,000 grant at the annual U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Boston on Monday.