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Rep. Carson plans to re-introduce food deserts bill amidst potential Marsh closures

INDIANAPOLIS, IN-- City leaders and residents are expressing concern about parts of the city that could be left without easy access to major and convenient food sources as Marsh considers closing its stores if it does not find a buyer.

Two of the stores at risk of closing include the chain's two downtown locations.

"Seems like it'd be a booming idea to have a grocery down here," said Tyler Hostetler.

As thousands of residents move into the area, though, current residents said for them it will mean their local grocery is no longer a short walk away.

"That would really be a big blow," Greg Quintig said. "I would be driving quite a bit further."

Rep. Andre Carson said this is paving the way for a conversation, though, about food deserts.

"All hope is not lost," Carson said.

In the midst of the potential closures, Carson said he is planning to re-introduce a bill in the next few weeks targeting under served communities facing food deserts.

"I think that this is a bipartisan bill. This is something that republicans and democrats can agree on," he said.

Under it, Carson said states would get federal money to make sure residents in food deserts have access to fresh and affordable groceries. He estimates it would cost about $150 million.

"It operates kinda like a bank where you have an application process and a screening process but the objective is to allow NGO's, small businesses and non-profits to expand their operations by meeting the needs that are created by food deserts," Carson said.

Carson said about ten percent of Americans don't have access to affordable, nutritious food and Indiana is no different.

"Indiana has a good number of food deserts but what I think may make parts of Indiana different than others is gonna depend on what the transportation system looks like whether people have access to reliable transportation," Emily Weikert Bryant, the executive director of Feeding Indiana's Hungry, said.

As for Marsh stores, the mayor's office said it could impact areas on the far east side already at risk of becoming a food desert and will impact people across the county.

Mayor Joe Hogsett released this statement:

“This afternoon, I reached out to corporate leadership to express my concern with the announcement that they may close a number of store locations in the area. Closing all of these stores at once would leave swaths of our city without a dependable source for high-quality food, and could affect hundreds of hardworking residents. Effective immediately, I have directed city leaders to aggressively engage with the company and use all tools at our disposal to prevent and mitigate the effects of these potential decisions.”