The city of Birmingham announced Tuesday $2 million in funds procured from refinanced bond debt has been set aside to lure grocery stores to underserved communities in Birmingham, according to city officials.
“I am excited about the potential of residents having access to stores brimming with fresh vegetables, fruits and meats,” said Cornell Wesley, director of Innovation and Economic Opportunity for the city of Birmingham, in a statement Tuesday. “We see the value in investing in our communities and believe grocers will too.”
The city’s plan intends to alleviate the widespread lack of access to nutritious and closely available groceries. According to the Birmingham Times, nearly 150,000 Birmingham residents, or 69 percent, live in a food desert.
The plan includes the establishment of a city-wide supermarket program meant to identify potential sites and determine the needed development assistance in constructing new grocery stores while also simplifying the review process from the city.
“I have a deeply personal mission of eliminating food deserts and the inequities they perpetuate in our city,” Woodfin said in an Instagram post Tuesday. “Our people MUST have access to fresh and healthy food no matter where they live.”