When one door to opportunity closes, the saying goes, others open in its place.
That’s exactly what happened when a Kroger supermarket in the Walnut Hills neighborhood of Cincinnati shut down, turning the area into a food desert. To reach another Kroger, people in Walnut Hills have to travel more than a mile from the original store, and many community residents are reliant on public transportation. But thanks to the partnership between the Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation (WHRF) and LISC, the site of the grocery store is in community hands, poised to transform into a facility to address their needs for the long term.
In fact, it was LISC’s ability to act quickly and flexibly that helped WHRF purchase the site, maintain it under community control, and explore ways of using it for food access. Community ownership is key to ensuring that the strategic location be used to enhance the strength and identity of the neighborhood. LISC Greater Cincinnati provided $100,000 in early stage capital to acquire the property. That acquisition funding in turn brought other investors on board.
WHRF is holding talks with residents and other stakeholders to think through the development of the property and what the next steps should be. This project is expected to reinforce the ongoing renaissance of the Walnut Hills commercial corridor also supported by more than $3 million in other LISC investments such as the rehabilitation of the historic Paramount Square building along with Paramount Square Commissary, which will both create jobs and commercial retail opportunities.
As development plans are progressing, the WHRF also has been providing alternative food shopping options for the community in what used to be the Kroger parking lot. Now there are weekly gatherings of farm stands and residents to provide fresh produce and other healthy food at low cost to the Walnut Hills community.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation
Private Sector Support
Public Sector Support
Executive Director: Kathy Schwab
2400 Reading Road, Suite 236
Cincinnati, OH 45202