PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — For years, people living in Pittsburgh's Hill District have had to travel miles to get groceries.
After a vote on Thursday, that will change in the near future.
Camisha Rainey takes public transit to go to the grocery store on a daily basis. It's what she's been doing for the past four years, and it's a 50-minute round trip.
"It's been hard, having to travel and bring my kids with me," Rainey said.
The Shop 'n Save off Centre Avenue, just two minutes from her home, closed in 2019 after six years in business. It was the only market in the neighborhood.
Before then, the Hill remained a food desert for decades, and ever since the shop left, that's been the case all over again.
"It would mean a lot to have a grocery store here, especially for the older people that live here and they wouldn't have to travel," Rainey said.
As of Thursday, the news of a new grocery store is official. The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh voted to approve the sale of the former grocery to Abdullah Salem, the owner of Salem's Market in the Strip District.
"At the end of the day, at the heart of all of our efforts are the people in the Hill District, to whom we owe the absolute deepest gratitude," Salem said.
With this business expansion, the small minority-owned shop will open a full-scale grocery store and help provide greater access to healthy foods for those living on the Hill.
The total development will cost nearly $7 million to develop the 30,000-square-foot store, and Salem plans to hire 50 percent of the workers from the Hill.
"We have already submitted the permits for the work about two weeks ago with the city. We're waiting for the results back on the permits and will begin construction immediately," Salem said.
As for Rainey, she's just counting down the days until it opens.
"I'm waiting, patiently waiting," Rainey said.
The owner said his goal is to open in time for the holidays at the end of the year.
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