NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — A new Piggly Wiggly opened in Newport News to a community that’s eagerly awaited the store.
Earlier this year, Jim’s Local Market closed on the south end, leaving residents in the Ridley/Marshall neighborhood without a close place to shop for fresh groceries.
“It’s long overdue,” said resident Patricia Taylor.
Taylor grew up in the community and moved back about five years ago.
She says it’s a special place and stores need to be able to acclimate to it.
That’s why she shopped at the grand opening to show support.
“If you care about where you live, care about your neighborhood, you’re going to try to make that happen,” Taylor said about change in the community.
City officials hope that change will come for that part of town.
“This part has suffered,” said Vice Mayor Tina Vick.
Vick says the city has focused on helping all areas and now they’re hoping to help the south end.
The city is waiting to find out if and how much the city could receive from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Choice Neighborhood Initiative Grant.
“We’re waiting. We’re keeping our fingers crossed. We’re praying,” she said.
Vick says they could receive up to $30 million and the money would go toward new housing, demolition of older public housing complexes, and providing workforce training for places like the shipyard.
She says the neighborhood is burdened with unemployment.
“We want the people from our community to be equipped with the skills necessary to get those jobs.”
The city says it will find out this week about the grant.
It is hoping that the grant and redevelopment will attract new businesses, like the Piggly Wiggly, to the area.