South Side grocery plan sparks optimism

By Ed Runyan


Fifth Ward Councilman Paul Drennen says he thinks an unidentified supermarket chain is “ready to go” on construction of a 17,000-square-foot store at Glenwood Avenue and West Indianola Avenue — a store he feels is sorely needed there.

And Drennen said he believes city council will approve a zone change from institutional to general business at the Jan. 5 council meeting so that the project can move forward.

Wednesday’s final public hearing in city-council chambers did nothing to stop the project, as no one spoke against the zone change.

Three people who live nearby the proposed store spoke against the project in November, saying they feared the store would lead to increased traffic on West Princeton Avenue.

Drennen, however, said he doesn’t think West Princeton is likely to see much additional traffic, with access more likely to be focused on Glenwood and Indianola.

The West Princeton side of the store will be in the back of the store, Drennen said.

“I wouldn’t think that would be an issue,” Drennen said of increased traffic.

Drennen was the only person who spoke regarding the zone change, saying he is “100 percent in favor” of the zoning change, saying the loss of other full-service supermarkets in the area has created a “food desert” in the South Side neighborhood.

“There is a definite need for a store in the area,” Drennen said, adding that the only stores within a couple of miles of the area are smaller corner stores.

Drennen said he believes the new store could be a catalyst for strengthening the businesses already there and promoting further development.

“I could see the whole corridor flourishing there now,” Drennen said.

The new store is projected to cost $1.8 million.

Drennen and Sharon Woodberry, Youngstown economic-development director, said they still cannot identify the company involved, but Drennen said an announcement is likely within a couple of weeks.

The property is the location of the former Cleveland School and Fosterville Park. The Fosterville playground is going to be relocated, Woodberry said.

In November, city council approved buying the 5.5 acres needed for the store from the city school district. The city was going to sell the land to Primax Properties of Columbus, the store developer.

Primax Properties works primarily with the Food Lion supermarket chain.

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