The city of Dallas, in conjunction with the Private Partnership Program, has allotted funds through the “Notice of Funding Availability," or NOFA, to help revitalize south Dallas' "food desert."
According to the USDA a “food desert” is a low income area where a substantial number of residents has low access to a supermarket or large grocery store.
The southern sector of the 9th largest city in the United States fits that category.
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Interstate-30 divides the city, with a large majority of grocery stores located on the north side of Dallas. Currently, there are almost 50 quality grocery stores or supermarket locations in North Dallas.
Store chains include (but not limited to) Whole Foods, Central Market, Trader Joe's, Kroger, and Tom Thumb. The south portion of Dallas has a dismal 3 Kroger stores, one super Walmart, and a few Save-A-Lot stores.
Even when you Google “super market” in south Dallas, the map pinpoints dozens of corner stores.
“There is a lack of good produce,” said Lawrence McCullough, who has been living in the Singing Hills neighborhood of Oak Cliff for 30 years. “We just want what people in north Dallas have. A really nice Kroger would be good. My neighbor says she likes Whole Foods and says the produce is better but she has to drive really far to get there."
"Some people don’t have transportation, and its too hot to walk,” McCullough said.
Through the NOFA, $3 million will be given as an incentive to developers for the building of a (minimum 25,000-square-foot) “quality grocery store” in south Dallas. And the committee is now excepting proposals.
The team of developers must of have five years of prior experience, proven financial capacity, adequate cash reserves, will survey community’s needs, and will hire locally.
“Stores, when they move into Dallas, they will move up north and east and west but for some reason it’s very difficult for them to land in the southern part of Dallas,” said Dallas Mayor Pro Tem, Erik Wilson.
Wilson represents District 8, which stretches 57 miles across the southern portion of Dallas.
“We know that building a grocery store will not be a quick fix, but it’s a start. We will need other retail and mix-income housing to follow. We want to invest in the community, because the people there are important.
Having access to a grocery store is an essential part of life,” said Wilson.
The city will be excepting proposals through November 30th.