Residents and community members concerned about Aldi's plans to close its Westown location are coming together to try to figure out how to maintain access to healthy food options in that part of West Dayton.
More than 150 people attended an event tonight at Mt. Enon Baptist Church in which local leaders, community activists and citizens discussed what impact Aldi's closure could have and how to fill the void it leaves behind.
Local community members floated several ideas, including creating a public market on West Third Street similar to the popular 2nd Street Market, which is operated by Five Rivers MetroParks in the Webster Station neighborhood.
One solution "would be to bring something similar to the 2nd Street Market to the ac=tual Westown Shopping Center," said Jamica Garrison, co-founder and board member of the community group Neighborhoods Over Politics.
Multiple attendees tonight questioned why Aldi's was leaving when the store usually seemed to be busy with customers.
Citing a Wall Street Journal article, Garrison said she believes the company has decided to focus on increasing its presence in the suburbs.
Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein told the audience that attracting and retaining corporate retailers is very difficult when the neighborhood or community does not meet its market or business formula, which considers factors such as rooftops.
But she said city leaders have had conversations about how to support alternative food operations and come up with strategies to improve food access.
She said the city can help possibly with obtaining market data and bringing the right people to the table to figure out solutions.