The co-op is intended to bring fresh and healthy food to a food desert. Store organizers have been holding community meetings and seeking to make the market more than a grocery store, with plans for a teaching kitchen, nutrition classes and wellness programming, a mini-clinic, cafe, and community room.
Co-op members can participate on committees and in annual meetings, elect representatives to the board, run for community-elected board seats, and benefit from member-only promotions when the store opens.
In the announcement, DeMasi said the project builds on recent investments in the area, including Audubon Crossing, $8 million senior apartments by Greater Dayton Premier Management, and the upcoming $12 million Salem Avenue rebuild.
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Gem City Market has been funded with a series of private and government grants, as well as by residents purchasing memberships.
In June, the market previously announced that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development approved Greater Dayton Premier Management’s request that $997,000 in unused funds go toward the grocery store.
The funds from the Hope VI Program were originally intended for a community center near the new housing, but sat unused since the 1990s. As part of the agreement, discounted memberships to the market will be offered to people who live in public housing and meeting spaces and certain classes will be available to them.