New life for old Parkland Grocery building in the works

New life for old Parkland Grocery building in the works
Dare to Care wants a new location in the Parkland neighborhood.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Dare to Care is working with the City of Louisville on relocating its operations from Butchertown to Parkland.

Executive Director Brian Riendeau said at the Thursday night community meeting that they're currently in talks with the city to lease the building. They hope to get a contract together by December.

Dare to Care wants new location in Parkland neighborhood

The meeting was put together by Councilwoman Jessica Green to gather the community’s thoughts and ideas. So far, there is an overwhelming amount of support.

One of the people who thinks this is a huge step for Parkland is the owner of Irma Dees, Antonio Garrison, who has grown up in the area.

“With these people coming over here and breaking this community open, it’s going to push everyone in the community to work with them,” Garrison said. “It won’t be an eyesore, but something that actually people will go out and be like, ‘Yeah I want to go over there and see what they got going on.’”

Dare to Care already serves 1,200 hot meals to 35 after school programs, but they want to expand that and serve seniors as well. Riendeau said they’ve seen a need in 700 more kids and over 2,000 seniors.

They also want to move their administrative offices to the hub, so Irma Dees might get a few new customers as well as employees! Dare to Care is partnering with organizations to launch a culinary job skills program, and Garrison said he’d love to hire the graduates.

This is a possible floor plan for the new location. It includes a training kitchen, grocery store and space for a LMPD unit.
This is a possible floor plan for the new location. It includes a training kitchen, grocery store and space for a LMPD unit. (WAVE 3 News)

The meeting was filled with residents and community leaders who felt the same enthusiasm.

“I think the fact that the Dare to Care organization actually saw value in moving to the Parkland community, it’s huge,” Matthew Smyzer, the executive director of the Baptist Fellowship Center, said. “I think it’s the beginning of actually moving in a direction that’s going to be so beneficial not only to the community, but to the city itself.”

Smyzer said the proposed location will help him serve more people. He said he gets at least 35 calls a day from people who need assistance. One of the biggest parts of the plan that had residents buzzing is a proposed grocery store within the building.

Accessibility to affordable fresh produce is an overwhelming need in the community.

“It’s close and convenient,” Tiffany Calloway, with the Louisville Urban League, said. “I think it will bridge that gap for that food insecurity that’s here in Louisville and Parkland.”

To top it all off, some space will go to a Louisville Metro Police Department unit currently housed at the Parkland Library, which would free up that building to once again become a free public library.

Dare to Care said they’re still fleshing out collaborations and raising the funds. They hope to get moved in by January 2020. This meeting was only the first of many, Dare to Care is open for any and all ideas and suggestions.

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