SMOKETOWN - MURAL - 11-2-2021.jpg

Mural in Louisville's Smoketown neighborhood. Nov. 2, 2021

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A year after the Metro Council set aside $3.5 million for a grocery in an underserved area, the city is in talks to bring a store to the Smoketown neighborhood, according to Metro Council member Jecorey Arthur.

“I'm proud to say that negotiations for that store are happening to build it on a vacant lot in Smoketown,” Arthur wrote in his latest newsletter, noting that his 4th council district is the only one without a full-service grocery. “I'll share updates as they happen.”

Caitlin Bowling, a spokeswoman for the Louisville Forward economic development agency, confirmed that Metro government is in “active negotiations on a grocery project.”

She declined to elaborate and referred questions to Arthur, who did not immediately respond to messages on Tuesday.

Louisville's Department for Public Health and Wellness led a request for proposal for the grocery, which is meant to provide new options in parts of the city without enough access to fresh produce and healthy food. Proposals had to be submitted by January.

The city was in talks with a developer in May, WDRB News reported earlier this year.

Prospective operators were required to show examples of similar work and, among other things, include a “full-service” approach with a wide range of food choices, such as a deli and bakery. An area of emphasis is providing fresh produce and meat from within 150 miles of Louisville.

The city also is requiring at least 51 percent of grocery staff to live in “regions of the county affected by food insecurity.”

A Smoketown grocery would be “very, very important,” said Tony Manning, vice president of the Smoketown Neighborhood Association.

“I think it would help in a tremendous way, especially giving access to healthy food and choices,” he said. Manning said he now shops at the Goss Avenue Kroger or the Kroger at 28th Street and Broadway. 

Manning said he’s not heard where a store might be located in Smoketown.

This story may be updated.

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