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A community owned grocery store on the south side?

Another person working close with the project is Michele Mike, program coordinator for the city if Syracuse, "I'm a liaison between the various groups and assist in getting people to participate in the process of planning projects that impact our city."

Mike is concerned that those who are residents of the impacted areas have a voice. "Many times the loudest talker drowns the voices of those whose only goal is to be heard in their own neighborhood," she said.

As a program coordinator for the city her goal is to increase participation in all aspects of our urban neighborhoods.

"I don't know what will happen after January 1st, but I know that I'm committed to the involvement of city residents and solving problems in this city," she said. "My role in this project is to simply assist."

Driving the streets of inner city Syracuse you can't help but notice that in some areas home ownership levels have increased dramatically in the past decade, however development of quality of life amenities have been slow to catch up with the tastes of these new consumers.

The urban landscape is replete with corner stores that sell beer cheaper than water, chips, fried chicken wings and malt liquor, but items such as fresh meats, produce and household staples such as bread, milk, corn meal and eggs are hard to find. If these items are available, they are usually higher priced than the traditional large grocery store's products.

The community owned urban grocery store concept is not new

Back in 1994, Michael Monroe an economist from Ithaca College with students from his Urban Crisis course worked with the now defunct West Side Innercity Association and others on the near Westside on a concept called Operation S.E.E.D. (Socio-Economic Empowerment through Democracy), which set up a model for development in poorer areas with people of a community participating as full stake holders who eventually own the project(s) being developed.

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