Years of being in a food desert, West Savannah neighbors hear about potential grocery store

SAVANNAH, Ga (WSAV) – There’s a new effort in Savannah to rid the city of food desserts.

Most of us are minutes away from a major grocery store with fresh produce. for neighbors in West Savannah their closest store is more than two miles away. A city leader says that’s too far when you consider many don’t have transportation. Neighbors sat down with leaders to talk getting a grocery store in the area.

“We believe that now is the right time, you need a grocery store, you want a grocery store, you deserve a grocery store,” says Alderman Van Johnson.

Johnson is speaking to neighbors of West Savannah, Hudson hill and Woodville in crowded meeting centered around answering the decade long question; will they have a grocery store ever in their community?

“We should be able to go to a store and go and get quality..quality meats, fruits and vegetables,” says Sustainable Fellwood resident Jane Dukes.

Dukes, like many neighbors in West Savannah, have three to four options for food. None of them have consistently fresh choices. That’s something West Savannah president Ronald Williams sees first hand affecting the health of families in the area.

“Instead of being able to go to the grocery store, the convenience store doesn’t have any fresh fruit you could go to the grocery store get some apples, slice some apples up bananas or whatever for that child but they were feeding that child potato chips, they were feeding them sodas and stuff like that all that sugar is not good for them,” says Williams.

The city is in talks with several people looking to bring a store in the area one of them is businessman Sylvester Foremy. He says the grocery chain Save-A-Lot has shown interest in the area. now it’s a matter of how it will be paid for.

“This is something that is detrimental to our livelihood to keep us healthy and going forth from this point on so lets keep a pressure on our officers and city officials, let’s keep them going,” Bishop William Roberts adds at the close of the meeting.

Formey says it can cost up to $3.5 million to bring in the store. He has accumulated at least two and a half of that. Now, he’s asking the city for help as they still explore options but alderman Johnson wants to see ground broken on a store by the end of 2016.

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