Neighbors on Pueblo's East Side fight to get new grocery store - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Neighbors on Pueblo's East Side fight to get new grocery store

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Neighbors on Pueblo’s East Side are fighting their way out of a food desert trying to get a grocery store back in their community.

They say they haven’t had one within a reasonable distance since last October.

They relied on a Safeway grocery store in their neighborhood for decades, but they say the store grew tired of thefts happening.

With the store closing, they have to rely on other stores and the next closest one is more than three miles away.

It’s a difficult trek for low-income families or people without a car.

It’s why neighbors are banding together to fix the problem. One of them is Tom Carrigan.

"We've got Dollar General, but they don't sell produce. 7/11 sells a banana or an apple every now and then, but there's no produce."

It’s not enough for people in the neighborhood which is why Carrigan and so many others on the East Side of Pueblo want "some kind of a grocery store so we can get some produce, literally, into the kids, elderly, everybody's hands.”

Carrigan, an executive board member of Eastside Action Support Team, says the Safeway that closed is about six or seven blocks from his house, an easy walk.

Cynthia Rand, co-founder of Eastside Action Support Team, said, “I used to ride my bike all the time.”

However, people now have farther to go to get the food they need. It’s something the Eastside Action Support Team is working to change.  

Carrigan said, "We're asking the city and the county, and other interested parties to become involved in seeing the best way we can do this."

It hasn’t been easy. City council members say some stores won’t move in because the city won’t give them enough money.

Carrigan said, "There has to be something that we as a community and as a city can do to get somebody back in to make our lives a little bit easier."

While the neighborhood waits, Carrigan and others will continue their work.

Rand said, "I've been banging on a lot of doors, just knocking on a lot of doors and passing out a lot of flyers, and people are behind this and they want a grocery store here again."

Neighbor Petrina Gonzales said, "That would be awesome because it's so inconvenient."

On Thursday, people can attend a public forum about getting a new grocery store. It will be at 6:30 at the Lucero Library in Pueblo. The action team will be there and at least one city council member.

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