Webb: Grocery store will come to Binghamton's northside

By Erika Mahoney

April 7, 2013 Updated Apr 10, 2013 at 9:57 AM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A Binghamton city leader is confident the northside will see a grocery store in their neighborhood.

Councilwoman Lea Webb says city leaders are still committed to providing residents with easily accessible, fresh foods.

She just couldn't say when.

In 2009, Webb, Mayor Matthew Ryan and several others celebrated a groundbreaking at the proposed site on West State Street.

The project was supposed to have been kick-started from a $190,000 investment, which includes $40,000 from Broome County and $150,000 from the state.

Webb said Saturday the state funds were never received beyond the ceremonial oversized check handed over by then-Senate President Malcom Smith. Smith was indicted last week on federal bribery charges connected to a failed run for New York City mayor.

While she says she has no control at the state level, Webb says she's confident the $150,000 grant remains available.

Webb says the money hasn't been released because the grant is intended for construction, which has yet to begin.

"The resources we got from Sen. Smith, and just like other state grants, they go through a process, simply, through dormitory authority," Webb said. "So the funds are still committed to the project, but will be distributed as the contract gets solidified and the construction would begin with the project. And that's just like other projects we've done in the city."

Webb says she is very passionate about bringing a grocery store to the area and never expected the initiative to take this long. But several hurdles arose.

"I've been working since my time on council, and I will continue to make sure that our city, and especially my constituents in the 4th district, really get access to the services they deserve," Webb said. "And a grocery store is one of those projects that isn't simply about a store, it's a lot bigger than that. It's really trying to keep the city moving forward and supporting small business development, at the same time providing residents access to healthy foods."

Webb said Saturday they are negotiating with a few grocers and expects the project to cost around $1 million.

She did not name the grocers.

Originally, a Save-A-Lot was slated for the space on West State Street. It's not known why the deal fell through. A Save-A-Lot opened earlier this year in Johnson City.

Webb says her fight to bring a grocery store to Binghamton's northside won't stop until a ribbon is cut at an opening ceremony.

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