Food Desert Fix

Nearly a year ago Shaw's supermarket shuttered the doors of their Downtown New Haven location. The closure of the store left nearly 100 people without jobs and turned the greater Dwight community into a "food desert". However, today The New Haven Independent reports residents in this area have welcomed a new neighbor: full-service supermarket Stop & Shop.

The effort to bring Stop & Shop to the vacant storefront Shaw's left behind was a collaborative effort involving area community organizations, the landlord of the retail space, the Greater Dwight Development Corporation, and concerned residents living in the community. Even before the grocer officially closed, citizens logged on to SeeClickFix to voice concerns about the impact Shaw's departure would have on the community. Isssue #25302: Bring back a full-service supermarket to New Haven was reported by "Jane Jacobs" Doug H:

In mid-February, Supervalu Inc. announced that it was pulling all Shaw's supermarkets out of CT. Immediately upon hearing the news, the Greater Dwight Community Investment Corporation and its partners began examining options and seeking a replacement. No one is willing to accept a "food desert" in this neighborhood, and GDCIC is working initially with Yale University Properties, which has both extensive experience in supermarket real estate and a strong desire to avert this possibility. It is of critical importance that the community remains engaged on this issue. Attached to this sheet we have included a brief survey, the data from which may be valuable in assisting the GDCIC and its partners secure a new, full-service supermarket for the Dwight location. In addition to distributing the survey, here are things you can do to help...

In addition to notifying residents about the closure, his issue description also included a list of things everyone in the community could do to help. Distributing surveys to citizens, monitoring safety in the empty Shaw's lot, starting petitions to bring a supermarket to the location and continually voicing concern over the issue were some of the things he suggested to keep the community actively engaged. It wasn't long until others began posting their opinions, concerns, and ideas to Dougs issue on SeeClickFix.

Hundreds of SeeClickFixers voted to fix the food desert created in New Haven

Mark Abraham, the Executive Director of DataHaven posted a link to a survey from the Dwight Supermarket Concerned Citizens Committee. He explained it's importance and encouraged users to spread the word and the survey.

A supermarket in central New Haven is essential and is a matter of health equity. For those of you who do not want to print and fill out the survey on paper, a link to the online version of the Dwight Supermarket Concerned Citizens Committee's survey will be posted here very shortly...Once it is posted, please circulate the online survey link to all of your email contacts. Encourage as many people as possible to fill it out. Please post your general comments and ideas on this thread, and encourage your neighbors to do the same.

As time passed, SeeClickFixers kept the conversation going by posting updates on the issue and ideas on new grocery stores that could occupy the space. SeeClickFix "Heman" Juli even offered a unique suggestion on how residents in the community could still have access to fresh produce.

i recently learned of a really inexpensive and easy way to grow your own vegetables indoors- several in one window. you make it yourself with recycled water bottles, etc.
it would be a great way for new haven residents to supplement their diets with healthy, fresh food while we wait for shaw's replacement.

The wait for that replacement is now over. On Thursday evening Dwight residents, public officials and community leaders were invited to the grand opening the new Stop & Shop. Wider aisles, brighter lights and soon-to-be installed bike racks are just some of the improvements the grocer made to their new home on Whalley Avenue.

From potholes to fresh produce, citizens are reporting an impressive variety of issues with SeeClickFix. We are proud to have provided a platform for all those affected by this issue to voice their concerns and share information. Thank you to all who helped bring Stop & Shop to our community!