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As Kroger prepares for closures, leaders search for solutions

PEORIA, Il. - Local leaders have made it their mission to help two lower income communities from becoming food deserts.

More than 80 Peorian’s brainstormed ideas at a forum hosted by Senator Dave Koehler and Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth Friday at the Southside Mission.

Koehler said the main goal is to have a plan to succeed, “We focused today on what people's interests were, interests are defined as their hopes their fears their aspirations, what it is that people want and why that's important.”

Senator Koehler stresses the solution has to be driven by the community members.

“The community must becomes members, must become owners, they become the board of directors, so that it’s not profit driven,” said Koehler. He adds, “I think we have to look at a strategy that has worked in other communities because what we have done in the past isn’t working.”

Councilwoman Denise Moore says the city is still looking for grocery replacements, but hopes when the job is done, the community will stand by it.

“When a grocery store comes in, we have to support them, we have to go there,” Moore said.

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