The news of , and its replacement with a Walgreen's pharmacy, could be a huge blow for the health and pocketbooks of Windsor Terrace residents.
Having a full service grocery store within walking distance of the majority of our neighborhood was a key quality that made our community great, and this change could limit access to fresh and healthy food and potentially impact seniors and those without automobiles. If Key Food is not replaced with something similar, residents could very likely be faced with limited, and in many cases unaffordable, food options at local convenience stores and intermittent farmer's markets.
Unfortunately, this news could also negatively impact property values.
The NYC Department of City Planning has found that adding supermarkets to communities improves property values, and the Agency is actively promoting more supermarkets in underserved communities. The loss of Key Food would go directly against stated New York City policy. A new Walgreen's will also put strain on local mom and pop institutions like Ballard and Oak Park Pharmacies.
While it appears that a lease has already been signed, we can still influence the type of store that exists in our community. For example, over the past two years in Chicago, Walgreen's has changed its corporate model to include fresh produce in areas with few food options.
Let's make them go one further. Community Board 7 District Manager Jeremy Laufer, and our elected officials, including Assemblyman Jim Brennan, Borough President Marty Markowitz and Councilman Brad Lander, have been responsive to the public outcry on this issue and we urge them to work with Windsor Terrace residents and Walgreen's to ensure our new neighbor will be a grocery first, and a pharmacy second. If they are not interested in this option, Walgreen's should support a daily fresh market in its parking lot so Windsor Terrace residents can access fresh and affordable food throughout the week.
Doing so will not only ensure our community still has a basic amenity, it will also show that Walgreen's is interested in our community's well being and not just our dollars.
Lauren Elvers Collins
Co-Founder/Chair Windsor Terrace Alliance
Member Brooklyn Community Board 7