On Thursday, March 5th, the Oak Park Neighborhood Association met to discuss the impact that the upcoming closure of the Food Source grocery store at 4401 Broadway will have on the local community. Present at the meeting were representatives from the City of Sacramento to discuss possible plans for filling the vacancy that will be left in the building and for maintaining food security for the Oak Park area.
Residents are concerned that without Food Source the surrounding area of Oak Park will become a food desert, a concern that prompted a high meeting turnout according to Oak Park Neighborhood Association Board Member Michael Blair.
“What we have besides this is Save Mart, which is almost 2 miles away, Safeway over there on Alhambra,” according to Food Source shopper Jeff Broaddus. “But other than that, it’s like the little stop and shop kind of corner marts. So that is already problematic. I mean, the availability of fresh produce at those is almost non-existent.”
“It’s the most diverse neighborhood in the city and you have so many different pockets of people, so it’s really hard to tap the entire neighborhood,” says Blair. “There’s no one source that can really do that, so I think the survey helps because it allows it to be done electronically. We’re going to try to hand out some extra ones today so folks can take them home and share them with their neighbors.”
The property currently occupies 51,083 square feet of land. At a market price of approximately $21 per square foot according to Costar, the annual lease would exceed $1 million, raising concerns that the lot will be too large for many grocers to rent profitably.
At the meeting, the possible solution of partitioning the property into two or more smaller properties through the construction of walls was raised, a proposition also advocated for by Blair.
“It would be more advantageous to more retailers if we did put that wall up and made it a smaller space, because it’s just too large for a lot of the grocers to even consider, like a Grocery Outlet or something like that,” commented Blair. “They would say ‘no way, it’s just too big’. But if we did split it then we might have more options we can work with.”
Blair noted that this will likely be the first of many Oak Park Neighborhood Association meetings to discuss the Food Source closure due to strong community interest.
“I think that a community is coming together to try to help itself, which doesn’t happen often enough. I think that we wait for government and everyone to solve our issues but we have a room full of folks who are dedicated and I think can bring some benefit to the community, so I hope that helps.”
The Oak Park Neighborhood Association (Website | Facebook) hosts meetings open to the public on the first Thursday of each month from 5:30pm to 8pm at the Oak Park Community Center, located at 3425 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.