Gem City Market will be constructed on the 300 and 400 block of Salem Ave. on vacant land and property containing a shuttered art supply store. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Mayor Whaley accepts national grant for Gem City Market

Gem City Market has won a $150,000 grant to provide healthy food options in Dayton’s west side, an area considered a food desert.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley accepted the 2018 award today in Boston at the annual U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting, according to a city of Dayton news release.

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Gem City Market will open in 2019 as a full service, cooperatively-owned grocery store. Workers and residents who purchase shares will own the market, and some shares will be sold at discounted rates to low-income residents, according to the release.

Whaley said in a prepared statemenet that the market will be “an important asset for northwest Dayton, ensuring that residents have access to healthy food and other critical service.”

“Their innovative model of community ownership will make sure that Dayton residents benefit from the market’s success,” Whaley’s statement reads.

The CommunityWINS grant, funded by the American Conference of Mayors and Wells Fargo, supports nonprofit organizations that promote quality of life and economic stability.

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The organization behind the market, Greater Dayton Union Cooperative Initiative, aims to raise $4.2 million through fundraising and purchases of membership shares. The organization has already raised nearly half that.

Lela Klein, GDUCI executive director and Gem City Market board member, said in a statement that receiving the grant is exciting news and brings “national recognition.”

“We hope that once we are successful, our work in Dayton can be a model for other cities struggling with food deserts,” Klein said.

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