City searches for Pond Street Wegmans replacement
The city of Syracuse is searching for a grocer to fill the void that will be left when Wegmans closes its Pond Street store at the end of this month. As YNN's Erin Clarke tells us, there are some alternative options available, but they may not be enough.
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SYRACUSE, N.Y -- The search is on to replace the Pond Street Wegmans.
"We've talked to some national and regional chains, some local grocers and there's interest out there," said Neighborhood and Business Development Deputy Commissioner, Ben Walsh.
The city is particularly interested in Nojaims Markets and Price Right - the company building a grocery store on Erie Boulevard and Teall Avenue. But the process of filling the void isn't simple. City officials are confident that the P&C space on the South Side will be filled by Tops soon, but two years after Mayor Stephanie Miner took office, making that a priority.
"That gives an indication of often times how challenging it can be to fill those spaces, so I think we all need to manage our expectations. We may not be able to get something overnight," said Walsh.
For a neighborhood that is growing, the closing of the Pond Street Wegmans comes at a bad time.
"There have been about six thousand families resettled to Syracuse in the last ten years and most of them have landed on the North Side," said Syracuse University Assistant Professor of Geography, Jonnell Robinson.
Still Robinson says the North Side has many ethnic grocery stores that can cushion the blow of losing a major grocer, but will not replace it.
Robinson also works for an organization called Syracuse Grows. It provides an alternative to communities that lack a source of fresh produce.
"It's a volunteer based organization that helps to start and maintain community gardens throughout Syracuse," said Robinson.
For the summer, the four community gardens on the North Side will help. But once the cold weather returns, those without transportation will face a dilemma again. City officials say they're committed to filling the void.
"Specific neighborhoods that don't have direct access to healthy foods, it's going to be, on a scale of one to ten, it's going to be a priority of ten for every neighborhood to have that," said Walsh.
But no definitive plans have been set in place yet.
City officials have talked with Wegmans and plan to discuss the future of the Pond Street building.