Proposed South Madison development raises food security concerns

Proposed South Madison development raises food security concerns

Access to food in Madison’s south side isn’t always a given, according to Alex Elias, Chair of Bay Creek Neighborhood Association’s Planning and Development Committee, and it’s possible that a proposed development on South Park Street could make things worse.

“We aren’t anti-development,” Elias said. “We just want to make sure that there’s continuity of service, that we don’t lose our grocery store, and that whatever is developed works for the neighborhood.”

A small group of concerned south Madison residents met Thursday evening to discuss food security issues posed by the potential development of a South Park Street site owned by the city.

The lot, where the Truman Olson United States Army Reserve Center once stood, is the subject of interest from developers, and the city has required that whatever plan is eventually decided on must contain a grocery store.

Hovde Properties/SSM and Welton Enterprises are jointly proposing plans for the site. Welton currently owns the property where a Pick n’ Save stands.

Elias said this proposal could see the Pick n’ Save, one of the largest grocery stores on the south side, closed during development, creating a temporary food desert for south Madison residents who are dependent on public transit.

At the meeting, which was attended by concerned community members as well as City of Madison and developer representatives, attendees also discussed how best a new grocery could serve the area.

Elias hopes that community action can help inform the developers as well as the city selection committee, which will discuss potential plans in mid-July.