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At the Corner of Food + Hope: Clairton Cornerstore Project

Economic Development South (EDS)  has been working with the City of Clairton over the last few years to develop a long-term funding plan for community revitalization of one of the only third-class cities in the Commonwealth to come out of distressed (Act 47) status.  That status was lifted in late 2015, but there is still a lot of work to accomplish together as a community. 

A critical issue in the City of Clairton is finding long-term sustainable ways to provide better access to fresh foods for its residents, roughly 40% of the residents living in poverty without access to healthy food are under the age of 5. At present, the closest grocery store is minimum 4 miles away by car, and almost an hour and half by public transit. 
  In 2016, EDS, worked with several funders to secure tax credit commitments of $475,000 per year for 6 years – $2.85 million if awarded (we are currently awaiting the official commitment from the state at the time of submission) towards the implementation of community plans.  

Hearing the residents loud and clear, Clairton is one of the largest food deserts in Allegheny County. Local residents have almost no access to fresh meats and vegetables, nor to grocery size staple items such as cereals. A focus of our commercial district efforts will be to, where possible, encourage redevelopment uses that address these deficiencies. This will include long-term strategies to attract a community-serving grocery store and short-term strategies to provide access through corner store and farmers market initiatives.   At the Corner of Food + Hope - Short-term strategies include the development of a concept model and sustainability plan for a healthy food corner store that will serve to ease accessibility to healthy food options in Clairton. The corner store idea is an expanded model of Just Harvest’s Fresh Corners program. The Fresh Corners program currently works with existing convenience stores and small grocers to subsidy fresh food options to eliminate the financial barriers to business owners to incentivize healthier food alternatives. Through a partnership with Just Harvest as the program lead, The Green Grocer, LiveWell Allegheny, Allegheny Health Department, The Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank, and Life Span, the Clairton NPP proposed to identify a similar model to the Fresh Corners approach, but rather works to create a more robust food access point in the Clairton community.   

The short-term plan is to secure a brick and mortar store that can focus on delivery of fresh and healthy food, rather than the traditional model of quick service and quick sale locations. Model discovery, operations management, and location exploration will be handled mainly in the first year of programming.  A goal of the project will be to identify an operator, a local entrepreneur, who, through some personal and professional investment can lead the operations of the market. If this model is successful, we plan to continue development and hope for it to serve as a model for the region.  

The tax credit program commitment would pay for the programmatic and resource stacking of partners to get the model developed and the food sourced. 
 

This UpPrize request is for cost related to site acquisition, renovations, and equipment for the bricks and mortar space. Thus, this request is for $75,000 to $125,000 for the hard costs associated to rebuilding place and hope for a healthier community.   


Submitted

Nov 29 2016

Organization Organization Type

Nonprofit

Challenge

Healthy Food

Product Stage

Concept

Team

Contact this team about Funding, Collaboration or other methods of support. Contact Team


2 Comments

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Rich Lattanzi

11 months ago

Praying that Clairton receives the grant and tools to starting rebuilding.
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Melissa Ferraro

11 months ago

Please like and share this important message. This infusion of funding would make a huge difference in the community of Clairton and in the lives of many families.

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