South Linden community leaders are excited about Columbus' plans to build a new free food market and pharmacy on Cleveland Avenue.
Mayor Andrew Ginther gathered with the project's supporting partners and community members in front of the old Eagle Supermarket on Friday.
“It should bring joy to us all that something that once offered pain, disruption and confusion in the community is now being transformed into something that will offer health, wellness, healing and hope,” says Lawrence Calloway, chair of the South Linden Area Commission.
Once a hub for gangs and crimes, the market will offer free produce to people who qualify and free prescriptions from a non-profit pharmacy.
“We know this will fill a hole in the neighborhood for access to fresh food and prescriptions,” Ginther says. "We know that Linden and some of our other neighborhoods over time have become food deserts, prescription deserts, healthcare deserts.”
The market is expected to help as many as 18,000 Linden residents. The city plans to spend $1.5 million on the project as part of its One Linden community plan.
Also participating in funding the effort are Community Development 4 All People, Charitable Pharmacy and Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Construction is set to start in September, and the market is expected to open by next spring.
“What we have today is an opportunity to start anew, to break ground on ground that is broken, to bring it back together and make it whole again,” Calloway says.