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Grocery Store Planned To Relieve Food Desert East Of Troost

Matt Hodapp

Six years ago, Teola Powell asked Kansas City, Missouri, City Manager Troy Schulte to take a tour of the grocery stores — or lack thereof — in her neighborhood around 31st and Prospect.

“It's important to me that we have a neighborhood that we can be proud of, and a supermarket that we can go to and feel good about shopping there," Powell said. "I shouldn't have to go to Westport or Walmart. I should be able to do it right here in my neighborhood.”

Schulte agreed, and began developing a plan with city partners to improve infrastructure and build a new Sunfresh Market in the Linwood Shopping Center at 31st and Prospect. The project will cost the city a total of $12 million, which includes the purchase of the shopping center for $950,000; $2 million will be paid using new market tax credits; the rest will be recouped from tax revenues after the shopping center opens.

The Sunfresh will be owned and operated by Lipari Brothers Sun Fresh Market, an affiliate of Associated Wholesale Grocers. 

At a Wednesday press conference announcing the project, Mayor Sly James praised John Lipari for investing in the neighborhoods east of Troost despite assertions from others that it is a risky area.

"The reality is that it is easy to develop in areas that are developed," James said. "It's easy to put a new store on the Plaza or out south or downtown."

Schulte said this project is just the beginning of the city’s plan to develop the Prospect corridor.

“Troost is no longer the issue in this city. It's, how do we keep moving the dividing line in this city — the perceived diving line — east, east, east, until it's Interstate 435 and we have a completely rebuilt city,” said Schulte.

The Sunfresh is expected to open in the summer of 2016.

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