City, SSM Health work together to ensure south side grocery access

City, SSM Health work together to ensure south side grocery access

SSM Health and the city of Madison announced a joint partnership to continue food access on Madison’s south side along Park Street.

The mayor’s office said Thursday it would use a piece of city-owned land to build a grocery store replacing the one SSM Health plans to build on.

Neighbors voiced concern after SSM Health announced plans to build a multimillion-dollar health care center on a piece of property currently occupied by Pick N’ Save. The Pick N’ Save is one of the only full-service grocery stores in the area. Neighbors feared the area would become a food desert without the grocery store.

“It’s a high priority for the city to make sure people have access to healthy and affordable food, but it’s also a high priority for us to keep a major employer on the Park Street corridor,” Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said.

Officials have issued a request for proposals. The city and SSM Health will work together on a timeline so the area isn’t without a grocery store for very long during the development.

“We are really pushing that very little of that time, if any, would not have an active grocery store,” Rhodes-Conway said.

“As a health care organization we recognize how important access to fresh foods are for the health of our patients, neighbors and community. We look forward to collaborating with the city of Madison and the community to move forward with a project that is in the best interest of all parties,” an SSM Health spokesperson wrote.

The timeline for both projects is unclear. More information will likely come out of the next City Council meeting May 14.

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