PUEBLO – Hopes of restoring a grocery store to Pueblo’s east side have officially been dashed.
Pueblo Community Health Center announced this week that it will be taking over the old Safeway building located at 1322 E. 8th Street.
PCHC said the plan is to create a new state of the art primary health care clinic for the east side.
Residents said the move is a positive development for their neighborhood, but it won’t bring them out of the food desert they’re in.
“It is kind of a blow,” said Tom Carrigan, president of the Eastside Action Support Team.
“In a lot of ways it’s very good because they do work with the lower-income brackets of the city over here on the east side.”
However, it still leaves Carrigan and the rest of his community without a neighborhood grocery store that provides healthy food.
“You’ve got a lot of people on this side of town who are on disability, they’re senior citizens, they don’t have a car…we’re back to square one. We realize that.”
Vice President Barbara Alphin feels the same way, but believes it’s a step in the right direction to revitalizing the east side.
“Anything’s a plus.”
Another positive – residents will have a pharmacy again.
Alphin said, “That’s one of the things that the people lost when the grocery store went out.”
Carrigan said, “They’re not necessarily bringing in more sustainable food, but they will be able to help more of their own clients and their customers.”
In the meantime, people on the east side will continue their mission to bring nutritious and sustainable food to the community they love.
Carrigan said, “We’re looking at small, mom and pop grocery stores that maybe want to relocate over here or if they’re here – expand.”
PCHC said with the new clinic it plans to provide access to at least 5,000 additional patients over the next 10 years. The opening date for the facility hasn’t been decided yet.