WICHITA, Kansas – One Wichita Wal-Mart closure has neighborhood officials working to find a store to replace it.
Three area Wal-Marts closed Thursday, but the neighborhood around 13th Street North and Oliver has become a food desert.
Now, residents in the area are taking action to try to find a business to fill that void.
Mary Kay Vaughn with the Wichita Urban League, which serves many people in the community who frequented the 13th and Oliver Wal-Mart, says people in the area are hurting because their QuikTrip convenience store, across the street from the Wal-Mart, also is closing.
City leaders say they’re in talks with Wal-Mart, which normally is very selective about which stores they allow to take over empty storefronts, to find another grocery store that can serve the neighborhood.
City Council Member LaVonta Williams, who represents that part of Wichita, says there needs to be a grocery store there.
“I think the number one priority should be a source of fresh food and vegetables, so I want a grocery in there,” said Williams.
The Urban League’s Vaughn says everyone in the area needs to help come up with a solution.
“The key to making the turnaround or to keep the turnaround in place is to have community residents ready to work toward a solution,” Vaughn said.
Williams also stressed the need for community involvement, and has invited residents in the area to attend a community meeting on February 6th to get as much input as possible so the vacant buildings can be filled.