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Incentive program will help bring grocery retail to north Baton Rouge

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BATON ROUGE - A financing program has been created to attract supermarkets, grocery stores, or food delivery services to food desert areas of East Baton Rouge Parish.

The city-parish and Hope Enterprise Corporation, along with others are partnering in the project. About $1.8 million has been funded through Community Development block grant funds, the City-Parish general fund and Healthy City Initiative. With the funding, participating parties will meet with grocery store retailers to put together incentive packages for those retailers to set up shop in food desert areas. It could include big retailers like Albertson's and Walmart, or grocery delivery services.

The packages will vary based on the needs of the retailer. While there's no location for a grocery store in mind just yet, retailers will identify an area or a piece of property and perform its market analysis. The incentives could be offered in the form of a loan and be paid back after a certain time.

The initiative will work to give more people access to healthy foods and become an economic driver for the area.

The city-parish says it'll start holding private meetings with retailers in the next few weeks.

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