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Kansas City's Red Bridge hasn't had a grocery store since January. A new market could be coming

A new grocery in the Red Bridge Shopping Center would fill a gap left in South Kansas City since the old shopping center store closed in late January, pending approval of the project framework.
Noah Taborda
KCUR 89.3
A new grocery store in the Red Bridge Shopping Center would fill a gap left in South Kansas City since the old shopping center store closed in late January, pending approval of the project framework.

After the Red Bridge Shopping center closed down, parts of south Kansas City became food deserts. A new proposal would fill the vacancy with a new market and bring accessible food to the community by the end of the year.

South Kansas City residents living around the Red Bridge Shopping Center are traveling more than 20 minutes to grocery shop.

They have been going out of their way to get food since January 28 when the Sun Fresh store at Red Bridge and Holmes Road closed, leading to a food desert. Now grocery store proposed for the same spot is poised to fill the gap Sun Fresh left behind.

Announcing the new project, Red Bridge Farm Fresh Market, 6th District at-large City Councilmember Andrea Bough said that the community expressed their needs clearly throughout neighborhood meetings.

"The neighbors wanted a grocery store in this spot. Nothing else," said Bough. "Because it is vitally important that access to fresh produce and fresh food is and not having to drive across the state line to get them."

Mayor Quinton Lucas, Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City president Tracey Lewis, and other stakeholders joined Bough outside the vacant building to announce the partnership.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines food deserts as low-income tracts of land with at least 100 households located more than one-half mile from the nearest supermarket and without easy access to transportation. The departure of Sun Fresh created a desert for many to the east of the shopping center.

LANE4 Property Group Vice President Brandon Buckley said the top priority since the Sun Fresh store closed has been finding a new tenant. The 35,000-square-foot building is a smaller location than some supermarkets, but Buckley said Farm Fresh Market is a perfect fit.

He said the building will require renovations and remodeling before the new tenants open for business.

Market Manager Mo Mussalett says the new business hopes to create an inclusive and satisfying customer shopping experience.

"As local family-owned business owners, we eagerly look forward to serving our community in a neighborly environment where our customers are treated like family," he said.

Mussalett said offering high-quality fresh foods at affordable prices — including produce, meat, deli, and bakery items — is the priority.

According to the mayor, the project will be funded through a $1.375 million tax redirection agreement over ten years with Kansas City. That still needs official approval.

He anticipated the project would establish 80 new jobs at an average income of more than $17 an hour.

"I'm excited for what this means to neighbors, what this means to our communities, what this means for people that are looking perhaps to buy a house in this neighborhood and throughout all of South Kansas City," he said.

As KCUR's health reporter, I cover the Kansas City metro in a way that reflects our expanding understanding of what health means and the ways it touches different communities and different areas in distinct ways. I will provide a platform to amplify ideas and issues often underrepresented in the media and marginalized people and communities in an authentic and honest way that goes beyond the surface of the issues. I will endeavor to find and include in my work local experts and organizations that have their ears to the ground and a beat on the health needs of the community. Reach me at noahtaborda@kcur.org.
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