The Madison City Council approved a grant Tuesday to help establish a small grocery store in the Allied Drive neighborhood, where access to healthy food has been limited for years.
The $157,735 grant to Luna’s Groceries through the Healthy Retail Access Program will assist the prospective grocer in setting up a shop in the Southwest Side neighborhood.
The grant will go toward converting a 2,240-square-foot space at 2030 Red Arrow Trail, formerly a loan business, into a store selling fresh produce, meat, packaged food and other goods. The project is expected to cost about $631,000.
Established in 2015, the grant program provides financial support to existing or prospective businesses that are looking to improve access to reasonably priced, healthy food in under-served neighborhoods.
The program caps grants at $100,000, but the council made an exception for Luna’s, which will be owned by neighborhood resident Mariam Maldonado.
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The Allied Drive neighborhood was impacted when a Cub Foods off Verona Road closed in 2009, and then a Walgreen’s that neighborhood residents had turned to shuttered in 2014. Current walkable options for neighborhood residents are largely gas stations and fast-food restaurants.
- Also Tuesday, the council voted to pay back about $166,000 to four hotels whose property values were over-assessed last year.
Hotels and large apartment buildings throughout Madison saw a huge increase in assessed property values last year as the city conducted a comprehensive review of those types of properties. Through an appeals process in the fall, 26 hotels had their values reduced by millions from what was initially assessed.
The owner of three of the four hotels on Tuesday’s agenda had originally appealed the assessment, but emails to which the appeals were attached were sent to an employee who was on leave, said City Assessor Mark Hanson. He said this caused the hotel owner to miss the window for appealing. Those hotels will receive a cumulative payment of $86,216.
Hanson said the owner of the fourth hotel did not receive a notice that the assessed value could be appealed. A $79,488 payment will be given to that hotel.