The West Market Street Council announced Friday it has reached an agreement to buy a west Bloomington shopping plaza in hopes of building a space for a new grocery store and other businesses.
West Market Street Council leaders held a press conference Friday outside of Rosy’s Mexican Grill. West Market Street Council President Arthur Haynes, project coordinator Laurie Bell and plaza owner Ragesh Kumar signed the commemorative agreement as the next step of the revitalization of the plaza.
The agreement gives the West Market Street Council one year to secure financing to purchase the property.
Bell thanked the group's partners and the community for its support toward ending the food desert in west Bloomington.
“Arthur and I can only express our deepest gratitude for all of the consultation, brainstorming, diligence, financial donations, and outpouring of support that we have received,” Bell said. “Your faith in the two of us and the partnership to lead this project is greatly appreciated.”
The West Market Street Council announced in June its plans to incorporate local businesses and a grocery store to the plaza. Haynes explained that six local businesses are being considered for spots. The businesses include a yoga studio, a GED educational program, Rosy’s Grill, an ice cream shop, and a print shop combined with Silver Back Apparel Company, both owned by Haynes. Those are in addition to the nonprofit grocery store.
Haynes also explained the new grocery store will provide produce from local farmers and job opportunities to Bloomington residents.
“The grocery store, as we envision it, will facilitate job training through the educational component that we also plan to have in the plaza,” Haynes said. “We plan to have a place on site where workers can actually train and clock in and use what they just learned in training. The custodial and educational piece consist of learning about retail and produce sales. A lot of things like that we plan to tie into the entire project to bring forth the economical development piece that we envision.”
The West Market Street Council is hosting a Taco Tuesday Community Forum at 6 p.m. Oct. 15 to discuss the next steps for the project, including more details about financing. Tacos will be provided and arts and crafts will be available for children. It will be hosted at Rosy’s Grill.
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