The Bronzville community and its residents deserve the same quality of life as others. As has been revealed in recent days, after having been presented a plan for a full-service grocery store, the unveiling of Dollar Tree on the corner of North Avenue and Dr. Martin Luther King Drive came as a shock to these residents. Let’s review the pertinent facts:
1. The location was renovated with a $400,000.00 loan from Milwaukee Economic Development corporation (MEDC) to prepare for a “full-service grocery store”
2. A full-service grocery store offering wholesome and nutritious foods would best serve the neighborhood
3. Those who have better access to supermarkets have lower levels of obesity and related diseases
4. One of the most powerful predictors of limited access to food variety is socioeconomic disadvantage
5. USDA reports show that segregation by race and income are associated with limited access to healthy food options
We all know that Milwaukee has among the greatest disparities in quality of life indicators based on race, including residential segregation and income disparities, in the nation. It is not acceptable to allow these conditions to continue, or to take actions that perpetuate them.
It is the duty and responsibility of City Officials, specifically the Department of City Development, to encourage sustainable economic development and to promote businesses that provide value-added products and services in all of our neighborhoods, including the North Side, not just Downtown or the Third Ward. Officials must be held accountable and must hold developers, such as Mr. Khullar, accountable. MEDC should not allow this “bait and switch” and should follow through in demanding and requiring full repayment of monies advanced.
We are pleased to hear Mr. Marcoux state that he will be taking a “personal interest” in the development of that site going forward. This type of personal interest is welcome throughout the community. Our goal is not only for this use (Dollar Tree) to not proceed, but that interested parties (community residents, city officials, developers and others – including the NAACP) will explore and pursue other ideas for bringing into fruition a positive operation at that location.
We want fresh foods for our families, not nonnutritious foods that lead to poor health. The NAACP, along with Alderman Coggs and others have heard from the community. We wish to place on file and make a part of the record our letter of opposition along with a petition containing signatures of scores of residents opposed to Dollar Tree and in support of fresh food options at that location as originally promised.
James H. Hall, Jr.,
NAACP Milwaukee Branch