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Find Out the Vision Concord Leaders Have for a Food Desert in Dilapidated Area

 The City of Concord recently purchased two buildings and a vacant lot with the hope of addressing two major needs in Gibson Village. 

Since the area along McGill Avenue NW is classified as a food desert by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the city saw an opportunity to purchase the buildings and transform some of the space into a food hub.  

“The community does not have access to fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Concord Community Development Manager Mary Powell-Carr. “They don’t have those stores that they can go to and purchase everyday products.” 

Out of four storefronts within the two buildings, only one has been occupied in the last nine years. The buildings have become extremely dilapidated, with one city employee joking that he calls one of the spaces “mossy glen” because of the excessive biological growth inside it.  

“It’s been kind of rough because it’s been empty, and things are falling apart on them,” said Gibson Village resident Michael Alfonso. “It’s just kind of not looking great.” 

The city also hopes to use part of its $200,000 investment as a “business incubator,” specifically for careers within the food and beverage industry. Leaders are hoping to partner with the Cabarrus Health Alliance, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and the Flywheel Foundation to offer entrepreneurial education and cooking classes. 

They’re even considering setting some of the space aside for an entrepreneur to rent and use as business space.  

“This portion of McGill, it’s a corridor for the city, but there’s not a lot of businesses or a variety of businesses in this area,” said Powell-Carr. 

The city has identified The Bulb, a nonprofit focused on barrier-free access to locally sourced fresh fruits and vegetables, as the potential food hub organizer.  

“It would be nice to have something close by, so you can get fresh vegetables and not have to drive to the farmer’s market and stuff like that,” Alfonso said. Tim Furr fills Cabarrus County Commissioner opening

The city has already requested $656,000 in funding from the state, which would be used to demolish the buildings and develop the site. They say in addition to identifying funding sources, their next step is to host community input sessions.  

“Talking to neighbors, this used to be a thriving area with shops and restaurants and toy stores and things like that,” said Alfonso. “And I think now that this neighborhood is starting to fill in again, I think it’s going to be a great thing.” 

Source : Queen City News