Groups take steps towards solving ‘food desert’ in west Bloomington

Local News

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD)–Leaders with the West Market Street Council and Bloomington-Normal NAACP presented plans to the community on Saturday for redeveloping the west side of Bloomington.

At one time west Bloomington had easy access to fresh food. Now it is considered a food desert by the USDA.

“A food desert has to do with the distance between residents and their access to food,” said Arthur Hanes, president of West Market Street Council.

The closest grocery stores are on the east side of town, up to five miles from some residents.

“A lot of people in this community don’t necessarily own vehicles and public transportation is scarce as well,” Hanes said.

For the Bloomington-Normal NAACP and West Market Street council, a decade’s worth of hard work is finally paying off.

“This is an exciting day for us, especially for those that have been working diligently on this project,” said NAACP president, Linda Foster.

The initiative will bring grocery stores, urgent care and create employment opportunities for the community.

“Having opportunities to work in your own community/neighborhood, I believe that makes a difference,” Foster said.

A yoga studio, apparel company, and two other businesses have already agreed to call the west-side home. They told Saturday’s gathering they’re excited about the future.

Both groups expect the entire project will cost around three to six million dollars.
And the hope is it will be entirely solar-powered.

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