Residents call for change at 16th Street Kroger

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Kroger recently announced a $464 million investment plan. It’s for stores across nine counties in central Indiana.

The plans include eleven new stores and renovations to twenty-two others.

But the store at 16th Street and Park Street is not included. It was built in the 1950s, and has looked almost the same ever since.

It’s in the middle of the Old Northside, Herron Morton and Fall Creek Place neighborhoods. Neighborhood residents say are in transition, but say the store is from a former generation.

“It’s the same,” said William Jones while grocery shopping. “I’ve been coming here for fifteen years and it’s the same.”

“This one, it could improve,” said Sterling Riggs, who has been shopping there for 10 years.

While Kroger has updated some of the interior, the exterior, including its footprint, has remained the same.

“We deserve a bigger, more up to date store,” said Doressa Kupke.

Kupke authored a change.org petition, calling on Kroger to invest in the store. More than 500 others have signed it.

“We’re hoping they grow with us. We’re all changing,” said Kupke.

While there are other grocery chains downtown, the closest Kroger is nearly seven miles away at Keystone Avenue and 65th Street.

“We feel like we deserve a better local option,” said Kupke.

But Kroger says if anything is to happen at the 16th Street location, it needs not only food, but a pharmacy and a gas station.

“That is Kroger’s successful 21st century model,” said John Elliott, Kroger’s spokesman. “You’ve got to have the three legs on the stool or the store won’t work.”

Elliott says they need a full city block, and 16th Street doesn’t have the space. He also says the gas station moratorium recently passed by the city is hindering any expansion plans.

“There’s just been an outcry from the folks that I represent about the light proliferation, the noise proliferation,” said Councillor Marilyn Phisterer, who sponsored the moratorium.

She says the concern she originally had is that gas stations could be built, but then abandoned.

She doesn’t have the same concerns for Kroger.

But those with roots in the neighborhood say they would like to see future investment.

“We do feel neglected. Kroger is the only store, though, that’s invested in us. So we’re trying to walk that line between feeling neglected, but also feeling grateful that they’re here,” said Kupke.

John Bartholomew with the city’s Metropolitan Development Commission says the moratorium only applies to C-3 zoned land, or residential areas. The land surrounding the 16th Street Kroger is zoned PK-2.

Bartholomew says they’ve been working with Kroger on the location but haven’t seen any plans.

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