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MADISON, Wisc.- The Madison Board of Estimates has approved sending a more than $300,000 incentive package aimed at building a keeping a grocery store in the city’s Allied Drive food desert.
The Verona Road neighborhood, which touches more than 5,000 residents, is in greater trouble since Walgreens, which provided a portion of those residents who could not drive an alternative for basic food and prescription necessities, permanently shut its’ doors.
The report (https://madison.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=3429355&GUID=AF0CAA74-B6DB-4077-8773-5C8D5A263BEB) recommends spending up to $300,000 to help attract and support a new store, help it stay successful, and provide emergency funding for things like travel to help residents until that store can be built.
“It could be cab vouchers. It could be bus vouchers. We haven't even divided up how we would allocate those dollars,” District 10 Alderman Maurice Cheeks said.
Those emergency travel dollars would makes up an additional $15,000 of the proposal, but Cheeks says it will likely take the city council until the end of February to figure out the plan’s final version.
Allied Dunn’s Marsh Neighborhood Association President Selena Pettigrew, who says residents are worried about what will happen in the interim, likes the idea of some sort of travel voucher.
“That would even help because at least if you went to the store a couple times a week, you'd have these cab tickets that'd take you to the store and back,” Pettigrew said.
But with funding likely not approved for another six weeks, Pettigrew says families are doing the best they can.
“I think about the single mothers who have kids. And you know have to lug those kids. And bring them out in the cold. And they’re on the bus,” Pettigrew said.
While Cheeks says there are a number of parties who have expressed interest in building a store, he would not provide any specific details.
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