ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Disabled, without transportation and forced to trek more than two miles each way to a grocery store — that’s the sad reality for hundreds of people living in the Midtown area of South St. Pete.
The area around 22nd Street S and 18th Avenue S is considered a “food desert” because people who live nearby don't have immediate access to fresh food.
Now, six proposals have been submitted to the city of St Pete to breathe new life into the Tangerine Plaza Shopping Center. In that location, both a Sweet Bay and a Walmart Neighborhood Market shut their doors after slow sales numbers.
The new plans are bringing residents hope, although they’re upset that a few options don't include a grocery store at all.
Here are the new proposals:
Sugar Hill, a farmers market, and food court. It’s a similar concept to Tampa Height’s new Armature Works establishment.
Blue Sky Affordable Housing which would bring low-cost apartments and office space.
A kind of catch-all project: A grocery store, department store, seafood restaurant and community resource office.
A group that wants to bring in a grocery store, fitness center, and medical offices.
United Against Poverty, which is a one-stop-shop non-profit that helps pair people with unused goods from supermarkets. They also help with education and other social services
An indoor roller skating rink called United Skates of America, which also has a location in Tampa
Some of the proposals, especially the roller skating rink, are raising eyebrows in South St. Pete. Residents say a grocery store is desperately needed to enable them to have access to fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and a place to fill their prescriptions.
Rick Smith, in the City of St. Petersburg’s Economic Development Office, says they are currently reviewing the six proposals. They will host a community town hall meeting to discuss the various plans on August 7th at St. Pete City Hall at 5 PM in conference room 100.
They hope to select the leading proposal to submit to the city council for a vote by late summer or early fall.