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Macon neighbors say storage unit center at former Kroger is 'missed opportunity'

The former Kroger building on Pio Nono Avenue could be used to house more than 500 storage units if Bibb's zoning board approves

MACON, Ga. — What used to be a bustling grocery store is now reduced to an empty building on Pio Nono Avenue.

Seth Clark says he used to walk to the store and the empty building is like "salt in the wound." 

Now, he has to get in the car and drive farther away for groceries, which can be harder for people who have to rely on public transportation.

"I don't think our neighbors need to wait 45 minutes for a bus ride to go 45 minutes away to a grocery store," said Clark. 

The building is now up for sale and according to Macon-Bibb County Planning and Zoning documents, there's an interested buyer -- a real estate development company out of Connecticut.

That plan would turn the building into 569 climate controlled storage units.

Clark posted about the plan on Facebook and he says most people wanted to see a way to address the issues with the lack of access to food in the area.

The United State Department of Agriculture says that the building sits in between a food desert, which is a place where people have a difficult time accessing healthy and affordable food.

"Our public officials need to be answering the food desert and we don't think this does anything to do that," said Clark. 

Alex Morrision, the head of the county's Urban Development Authority, says his organization was considering that location as a potential site for the relocation of the state farmer's market that is currently on Eisenhower Parkway. 

He says they were looking to propose this to the state before they heard about the potential sale.

"It's a missed opportunity and we're tired of that," said Clark. 

The planning and zoning board will hear a proposal from the company during their January 13 meeting. 

The development group says they don't anticipate traffic in the area becoming an issue, nor do they think the spot will negatively impact the surrounding neighborhoods.

RELATED HEADLINES

What is a food desert?

Former mayor Ellis asks Kroger to reconsider Pio Nono store closing

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