FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) The need for a grocery store to provide fresh food options on Fort Wayne’s southeast side is no secret. The area is officially a food desert, meaning residents don’t have easy access to healthy food options.

But that could soon change with Thursday’s announcement that the City of Fort Wayne is partnering with Parkview Regional Medical Center and Affiliates (PRMC) on the Pontiac Street Market. According to a news release from the City of Fort Wayne, PRMC will provide financial support through its Community Health Improvement program and, along with its vendor partner Sodexo, manage store operations.

The Redevelopment Commission and City Council will need to approve various aspects of the grocery store. The governing bodies will consider those requests at meetings later this month. Upon receiving all necessary approvals, construction could begin in February 2023 with the grocery store opening in the fall of 2023.

“It’s vital to meet the needs of the community as we work each day to provide excellent quality of life opportunities for the health and well-being of our residents,” said Mayor Tom Henry. “We are encouraged by the positive momentum and growth we are experiencing in southeast Fort Wayne with public and private partnerships that will have a lasting and meaningful impact. Southeast Fort Wayne is moving forward in the right direction.”

“Parkview understands that access to high-quality, healthy food is foundational for health,” said John Bowen, president, Parkview Regional Medical Center and Affiliates. “Supporting the City on this project allows Parkview to expand its work to increase access to nourishing food and provide resources that will help pave the way to a healthier community.”

Plans for a grocery store on the southeast side have been in the planning stages for months. It would be about 4,000 square feet in size. To put that in perspective, a typical Dollar General store is 7,500 square feet.