Lackawanna Plaza Solutions proposal
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This petition is to initialize the conversation, proposal, and ultimate resolution regarding the issue of food insecurity due to A&P’s bankruptcy and Pathmark vacancy as a result. Many residents have been deeply affected, emotionally and fiscally, by the departure of Pathmark. A great number of people above and below the age of 65 have been affected and strongly urge for a replacement as soon as is possible and feasible. The demonstration on May 7th will reflect the community’s strong frustration of recent events and the hope that moving forward a stronger discourse between this community and the parties involved will ensue. We, the residents affected, request the following:
1. An affirmation from Brian Stolar of Pinnacle Companies, Jon Hanson of Hampshire Companies, and/or the ranking officer of HP Lackawanna 2013 LLC to confirm a commitment to the installation of a grocery store within 14 months with pricing that is convenient not just for the future of new migrants entering this town but affordable to current residents making $30,000 in a fiscal year.
2. The installation of a weekly Farmer’s market located at Lackawanna Plaza containing produce, toiletries, and basic non-perishable household goods.
3. The creation of a rideshare program. High Schoolers in need of a senior option assignment or community service, college students in need of community service or community work related to their major, and residents looking for volunteer opportunities or a PILOP (Payment in light of services)
4. The creation of Community Gardens on public land, as determined by the township
This affirmation is needed to assure residents that in spite of a grossly delayed projection of a new grocery store coming, that HP Lackawanna LLC has not forgotten about the needs of the present community and has an intention to restore affordable food. There is growing disconnect and frustration since the grocery store has been delayed at least another year. A pre-emptive statement is needed as a means to diffuse further outrage; By relieving concerns to the community this can avoid the slander being spoken about these companies and affecting their reputation. Many in the community say that Pinnacle has created a “food desert” and are proliferating the “gentrification” of the south end of Montclair. A town hall meeting would help remedy this perception and can alleviate the concerns of these residents.
A farmers’ market at Lackawanna would be the perfect intermediary solution while considerations for future use are still ironed out. Through communicating with current vendors and the two farmer’s markets currently in town, a day can be discovered to set up shop in Lackawanna plaza. This market would in no way affect the space’s current lack of use and help ease the burden of inadequate transportation to other, non-walk able, grocery stores.
Right now, the two present transportation alternatives are not satisfactory to the basic needs of our carless residents. The total price of a round trip via taxi cab is about $30, above the purchasing power of these residents under 65. Taking the bus WOULD be a much cheaper route however, this makes getting to the grocery store at least a 90 minutes ordeal just in terms of transportation, let alone be able to carry all the bags they need.
Shoprite AND Foodtown have an online grocery shopping service which is affordable. However, this service is underutilized due to lack of internet access.
A ride share program would incorporate two complementary parts of the community to come together over the common cause of getting groceries. It can provide teenagers and college students with community service hours AND incentivize locals to help those who are in need.
The price of a round trip to Shoprite via bus costs approximately $5. Charging $10 for a round-trip, assuming a lack of volunteers, would allow for a percentage of this fee payment and the rest to be used by the town for any managing expenses. The extra profit can be added to municipal revenue.
We believe these are reasonable requests to put both our hearts and wallets at ease. We, the disaffected, look forward to your response.
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