Truman Medical Centers has set aside its ambitious plan for a healthy-foods grocery at 27th Street and Troost Avenue.
Instead, Truman hopes to provide some of those same healthy-cooking and eating programs at the planned Sun Fresh grocery at Linwood Boulevard and Prospect Avenue.
“We want to see the store on Prospect be successful,” Truman President and CEO Charlie Shields said Friday. “And we believe that there are other uses for (27th and Troost) that can still serve to the benefit of the city.”
Truman officials had a vision dating back to 2010 for a full-service supermarket on land south of the medical center. It was intended to address the food desert in the urban core and provide better food choices for hospital patients suffering from obesity, diabetes, hypertension and other conditions.
The grocery also would have benefitted students living in nearby University of Missouri-Kansas City housing, as well as residents of the growing Beacon Hill neighborhood southeast of Hospital Hill.
The city transferred the land for the grocery at 27th and Troost to Truman in March 2013.
But the $11.5 million, 35,000-square-foot project encountered challenges and delays in getting needed state tax credits and private donations.
Then just last month, Kansas City officials announced a deal to redevelop the long-troubled Linwood Shopping Center and to open a Sun Fresh food market there by mid-2016.
Shields said that when he heard that announcement, he realized the Sun Fresh store would be just 1.5 miles from the proposed Truman site.
“The concern was that our project would somehow affect the viability of that project,” he said. “So we talked to the city about how can we work together to find a different purpose for that block.”
Shields said no decisions have been made, but Truman and the city will reach out to the neighborhood for ideas.
City Manager Troy Schulte confirmed the decision and said the land likely will revert back to the city’s control.
“We’re going to look for another development opportunity,” Schulte said.
The Truman grocery had been envisioned as an innovative concept that would provide locally-grown produce, occasional farmers markets, cooking classes and even opportunities for physicians and dietitians to prescribe healthy menus for patients.
Shields said he had contacted Sun Fresh officials, and he’s optimistic those opportunities will still be available at that store.
Shields also said that while other projects are pondered for the site, Truman and the city will continue to maintain the landscaping and do the mowing at 27th and Troost so the property doesn’t become a weedy, vacant lot.
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