KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Changes are in the works for the Linwood Shopping Center at 31st and Prospect. It will bring some much-needed businesses to the area. Mayor Sly James announced the improvements include a much-needed grocery store.
Supporters hope the improvements help boost east side economic development.
"When I wanted to go and get groceries, I had to go far," said Teola Powell, who grew up in the neighborhood where she still resides.
"There was no place right here in our area that we could get wholesome groceries," added Powell, "and with the high price of gas nowadays, why should I have to drive miles to get to the grocery store when we have a very good community here that should have the same amenities as other neighborhoods."
Powell lives a few streets down from the almost 30 year old Linwood Shopping Center -- once a thriving plaza with a long history.
"Everyone here has witnessed the decline and the shutdown of businesses as commerce leaves, and this neighborhood has suffered, and the opportunities have waned," said Mayor James, who announced on Wednesday that the shopping center is getting a $12 million face lift, and will soon be a new grocery store - Sun Fresh Market.
"Which will eliminate, or at least take a big bite out of, food desert area that`s existed here for a long time," Mayor James added.
Mayor James says there's a real need for convenient access to fresh food for people who live here. He hopes the new grocery store will attract new residents and fill a void for current residents.
"With it will come other retail and food options and jobs and overall investment in this area of the city," he said.
Six years ago, Powell took Kansas City Manager Troy Schulte on a tour showing him all the grocery stores in the area, or lack thereof.
"I wanted him to see that in his neighborhood he`s got a supermarket closer, and most people have a closer supermarket than we have," said Powell.
Mayor James says this project will begin this fall-- and the goal is to have this supermarket open for business in the summer of 2016.
The city purchased the shopping center for $950,000. Mayor James thanked Lipari's Sun Fresh supermarket, which will be an anchor tenant of the new development.