LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - When Kroger said goodbye to Old Louisville after 37 years on 2nd Street, neighbors rallied and city leaders pledged to try and do something.
Now, some five months later, a deal is in the works for the old property, but is the hope for a grocery deal dead?
Spalding University has a verbal deal on the table for the property. The school maintains it is not in the grocery business but said its president is committed to working with the neighborhood.
"I was pretty disappointed when they got rid of the grocery store," Old Louisville resident Ahtume McCollum said. "I go to the Kroger on Central Avenue and that's not really close by. I don't have a vehicle right now."
Another neighbor, John Trustee, said he has to travel a good distance to get fresh fruit and vegetables.
"Sometimes miles away," he said, adding that he goes to the busy Highlands location at times.
Now, the old property is in play.
"Very recently, we were asked to re-engage," Spalding University spokesman Rick Barney said. He also said a big price d rop from $1.6 million to just over $1 million had Spalding University ready to make a deal with the owner, the Ohio Teachers Retirement System. The old Kroger facility on 2.6 acres makes sense for Spalding that's been busy in its fundraising efforts.
Right behind the old Kroger? The school already has purchased 2.2 acres that eventually will be green space, and just down the street at 9th and Kentucky streets is 7.5 acres that will become new soccer fields and a softball complex.
As for the loss of the neighborhood grocery store?
"We have heard from residents of the community that they've been hurt by the void created," Barney said. "I think the first thing we're going to do, President Tori Murden McClure, our Trustees and much of the Spalding community want us to do is look what we can do to support another grocery provider of some size to come in and fill the void that's been created."
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Spalding officials told WAVE 3 News the school could possibly lease the land to a smaller grocer. They likely will close on the property in mid-summer.
Meanwhile, District 4 Metro Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith said the owner of another grocery space at Fourth and Oak streets has been working with Louisville Forward to find another grocer. The council member also is floating the idea of Spalding leading an innovative grocery business partnership that could benefit the neighborhood and students.