North side fighting for Wegmans replacement

Neighbors on the North side of Syracuse are working to bring another grocery store into the now-vacant Pond Street Wegmans. The store permanently closed its doors on Saturday.

As a policy, Wegmans does not sell its stores to other supermarket chains. But the store is now making an exception to the longstanding policy.

"Although our policy is typically not to sell to competitors, in this instance, based on the situation on the North side of Syracuse, we have made an exception and will accept proposals from anyone who is interested in purchasing the building," said Evelyn Carter, Wegman's Manager of Consumer Affairs for Syracuse.

On Monday morning, members of the North side's Danforth/Pond/Butternut Task Force held a rally asking Wegmans to sell the Pond Street property to another grocer.

"In order to revitalize the North said, we need to have a grocery store," said Pat Body, Chair of the task force. "That's vital for not only the revitalization, but many of the residents do not have vehicles. In order to have access to affordable food, they need to have a grocer here."

The City of Syracuse sees the store's closing as something that goes beyond a business practice. "This is a public health issue to the City of Syracuse," said Director of Mayoral Initiatives Tim Carroll. "This isn't just a matter of convenience. It's a matter of public health for people who need access to fresh fruits and vegetables."

So far, Wegmans has received one business proposal from a development corporation. It's unclear, however, if the developer would turn the property into another supermarket. To allow grocery stores the opportunity to send proposals, the deadline for submissions has been moved to July 11th.