Wal-Mart and Chicago's South Side Food Desert
1. CHICAGO TRIBUNE -- Various surveys have shown the dearth of supermarkets in Chicago's poor neighborhoods and how the attendant health problems ripple through the state and city. But you don't need a survey to know there's a problem. Wander around parts of the South or West Sides. Look. People shop for meals in liquor stores and fast-food joints, in little shops where fresh means moldy tomatoes and tired meat.
Adults there are far likelier to have diabetes and hypertension. Children are likelier to be obese. People are job-starved too. Supermarkets would bring more than food.
2. CHICAGO TRIBUNE -- The effort to bring more grocery stores to low-income areas--so-called "food deserts"--would receive a shot in the arm from legislation passed this week by the Illinois General Assembly. The $3.1 billion public spending bill passed Monday includes $10 million for the Illinois Fresh Food Fund, money that would go to urban and rural neighborhoods with reduced access to healthier foods because they're underserved by supermarkets.
3. CHICAGO TRIBUNE -- Mayor Richard Daley contends there is no chance the latest effort to have a Wal-Mart built on Chicago’s South Side will succeed. Daley said Thursday that even though the store would generate tax revenue and create jobs for neighborhood residents, there aren’t enough votes in the City Council to pass the required redevelopment agreement.
Alderman Howard Brookins has tried for years to locate a Wal-Mart store in an industrial site being redeveloped into a shopping center. Currently, Wal-Mart operates a store on Chicago’s West Side. Opposition to Wal-Mart has come from labor unions, who claim the retailer does not pay workers adequately and skimps on benefits. Daley’s floor leader in the City Council, Alderman Pat O’Connor, says Brookins’ latest effort comes at a time the city is trying to keep peace with the unions.
MP: So Wal-Mart wants to build a store on the south side of Chicago in a "food desert," probably including a food supermarket with healthy foods in an area underserved by supermarkets, which would create hundreds of jobs, and I'm guessing that Wal-Mart is willing to do this without any government subsidies from the Illinois Fresh Food Fund, and its efforts are blocked by the unions. But how many supermarkets and jobs are unions providing on the south side of Chicago in the "food desert"? I'm guessing none.
Thanks to CD reader Steven Bridges for the links.