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PHILADELPHIA -- In a statewide program to promote development of supermarkets in inner city areas, a half a million dollars in state funding was awarded to establish a Fresh Grocer supermarket in the Yorktown section of Philadelphia, said the state's department of community and economic development (DCED).
DCED Secretary Dennis Yablonsky said the new supermarket initiative will not only create new jobs in underserved neighborhoods such as Yorktown, "but will also promote healthy living by providing Pennsylvanians with neighborhood access to nutritious and affordable food."
"Agriculture businesses, including supermarkets, have the same capitalization needs that other businesses do, but assistance to these vital sectors of our economy has been long overdue. This initiative is a positive and innovative solution," Yablonsky added.
Both Yablonsky and State Representative Dwight Evans presented the $500,000 in funds -- $250,000 from the Minority Business Development Fund for
predevelopment work on the Progress Plaza site, and another $250,000 grant
from the Fresh Food Financing Initiative for the new Fresh Grocer store -- to Pat Burns, operator of five other markets in the region.
The supermarket will serve as an anchor to Progress Plaza, the nation's first African-American-owned and -developed shopping center. It marks the second project under the Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative, a statewide program that supports the development of supermarkets and other fresh food retailers in urban and rural communities that lack adequate access to supermarkets in underserved, disadvantaged markets.
"This program allows us to make targeted, proactive investments in our businesses and communities, while attracting private sector investment to vital projects," Yablonsky said. "We continue to look for innovative ways to support our communities and create new business opportunities."
The Reinvestment Fund (TRF), a nonprofit organization, will utilize $20 million from the Market Development Appropriation Act 7A to support and administer the Initiative providing grants and loans to create economic incentives to encourage the development of supermarkets in urban neighborhoods.