Augusta, GA (WJBF) – With the closing of two grocery stores in south Augusta, some local leaders want to bring more business to the area.
The Deans Bridge Road Kroger store is expected to close in June. But Georgia State Senator Harold Jones and other local and state leaders want the grocery to pump the brakes on leaving.
“Not only to talk about saving this particular store, but actually going a little bit further on where we’re going to go from here,” Sen. Jones said.
The District 22 Senator said he’s found a way to save Kroger and south Augusta.
He spoke during a press conference in the parking lot Tuesday, “We’re requesting that the CEO, at least the person that is in Atlanta, come down and visit the community and understand the impact this will have on the community.”
District 125 Georgia State Representative Earnest Smith spoke during the press conference. He wants to sit down with Kroger Corporate officials if they do come to Augusta and ask how business could have been better.
“What is not being done? How can we help to ensure the reality as opposed to where we are now?”
Flanked by south Augusta shoppers as well as state and local leaders, Sen. Jones also shared another plan; the creation of the South Augusta Development Authority.
“Revitalization, economic development specifically for the area of south Augusta, specifically looking at retail because we don’t really have that right now,” he said.
The Deans Bridge Road corridor is one spot that’s lacking retail stores.
Augusta Tax Commissioner Steven Kendrick said the effort to save south Augusta isn’t new.
“For the last decade we have been talking about this issue and talking about what we can do to improve the plight of South Augusta as it relates to development,” he said.
“About two years ago we sent an urging resolution showing our support to the commission for establishing an economic development department for the city,” said District 124 Georgia State Representative Wayne Howard.
Despite Kroger’s claim that its Deans Bridge location was losing money, District 5 Commissioner Bill Lockett said loyal shoppers will lose too.
“We have many citizens in this community that cannot afford or don’t have the means to drive to Wrightsboro Road or Washington Road to another Kroger store,” Lockett said.
WJBF News Channel 6 mapped it out and the 15th Street Kroger is closest, which is about 4.5 miles from the Deans Bridge Road Kroger that’s closing. Now, the ball is in the commission’s court. It will decide who and when and if there’s a Development Authority.