JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — In two weeks, we could know if the city is going to help pay for a new grocery store in Northwest Jacksonville, an area that is considered a food desert.
On Tuesday, the city held an open meeting to get feedback from the community on paying for a grant to open a new grocery store.
Action News Jax asked people in the Paxon area where they currently shopped for food.
Most told us they used to shop at Harvey's Grocery store on Edgewood Avenue North, but it closed about a year ago.
Sheila Moore, a mother of two, told us she felt as if that happened over again night.
"I came up here and it’s all boarded up like it was never even opened, I’m, like, I didn’t even know they were closing," Moore said.
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She said she and her two children moved out of the area right after Harvey's closed because there weren’t many places to buy food for her family.
"You have to go miles over here, miles over here. And if you’re at home or you’re cooking, you want to go get something, you don’t want to have to get in your car, if you have a car," she said.
Council member Garrett Dennis helped co-sponsor a bill a year ago to set aside $3 million from the Northwest Jacksonville Economic Development Trust Fund.
He said it would help address food deserts in Northwest Jacksonville.
"In that area, you have very few options. You have dollar stores up and down the Edgewood area. The closest grocery store, there is a Winn Dixie on Lenox (Avenue) and Normandy (Boulevard), but that’s still about 3 miles to the closest grocery store for people who live in the Paxon area," Dennis said.
Right now, he said, he’s asking the city use $750,000 to put in a new grocery store where the Harvey’s on Edgewood Avenue North used to be, and Dennis said that, with the city’s approval, a Rowe’s supermarket could fill the vacant lot left by the old Harvey's supermarket.
"When you think that the main grocery store is basically a Dollar Tree where people have to come to get their food, that’s sad," Dennis said.
He said that the proposal will go to committee next week and city leaders are expected to vote on in two weeks.
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