Access to food, or inaccessibility, has long been a problem in Sun Valley. It has been described as both a food desert and a food swamp. Similar ideas indicate that access to large grocery stores is not as easy as that of healthy food stores, and that the number of fast food and convenience stores is disproportionate.
Currently, the closest major grocery stores in the neighborhood are Spear boulevard and King Supers on 13th Avenue, about 1.6 miles from the center of Sun Valley. 5 minutes by car, 18 minutes by bus, or 30 minutes on foot under busy streets, railroad tracks and I-25.
Operated by the Denver Housing Authority Youth Employment Academy (YEA), the store occupies the commercial space on the first floor Gateway South. It is one of two mixed-income homes completed earlier this year by the Denver Housing Authority (DHA) as part of the first part of a four-stage Sunvalley redevelopment project. With a grant from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, DHA’s efforts include replacing 333 public housing units with more than 800 mixed-income units.
With Decatur Fresh, DHA extends the project beyond residential. “This is the only grocery store I know was opened by the Housing Corporation,” said David Nisivoccia, Executive Director of DHA. “We want to treat people gracefully and dignifiedly, not only in the building that houses them, but also in order to provide a solid foundation for achieving the goals of people and their children’s aspirations. I’m pretty excited about the approach. “
According to DHA Development Program Manager Annie Hancock, Decatur Fresh is “a 1,800-square-foot international, affordable fresh grocery store, community-led and resident-led … it’s a vocational training opportunity. It’s a neighborhood employment, and it’s about bringing in fresh produce."
Readd Eminetra's article "A New Grocery Store Aims to Address Food Access Issues in Sun Valley," featuring the Denver Housing Authority.