Soopers’ New Plan to be More Accommodating to Drifters, Homeless

Soopers to accomodate driftersAt the September 9th meeting at the Sam Gary library, representatives from the community, Forest City, King Soopers, and Evergreen Development met to discuss current plans for the Eastbridge Town Center. Soopers was first to speak when they unveiled a new architectural plan they thought would please those in the community. “We have created a larger walkway outside of the store, along with some shade and seating areas,” said Soopers representative Joel Starbuck. “It will give a good buffer between the traffic, and will certainly give more of a ‘town center’ feel.”

Community members agreed that the extended walkway and seating area may be a step in the right direction, however there may be some problems that accompany the new plan. “It certainly looks better,” said resident Autumn Ditchman. “But let’s really think about who is going to use the seating area out there. When I go to the store, I am hurrying in and out, not sitting outside and relaxing.” Others agreed. “Seriously, who relaxes outside at a grocery store?” asked attendee Steve Lewis. “Even if there is a Starbucks inside, no one sits around and enjoys the grocery store atmosphere. I’m not above King Soopers food every once in a while, but I’m not going to hang out at the grocery store and eat there.”

Resident Michelle Dillingham strongly believes that there are people who would love the outdoor seating area and shade. “The people who are going to love this are the homeless,” said Dillingham. “They can come in here for the gas station, get some 3.2 beer, and hang out in the shade. Their drifter friends can join them. They are going to love the place.” Resident Ken Campbell believes the word has probably already gotten out. “Once they see these new plans, they’ll be licking their chops,” said Campbell. “They can come by, grab some soup at the deli, then hang outside on the patio all day asking shoppers for a few bucks for gas, which is conveniently located right there.”

Starbuck does mention that the plans are a working document, and they will continue to work with the community to arrive at the best design. “Hey, we’re just a grocery store doing our best to bring quality prices and product to a great neighborhood,” said Starbuck. “The last thing we are trying to do is alienate the community we are trying to serve, but at the same time, we are a corporation with profit responsibilities to stockholders. We can’t just be a cog in a wheel to support a town center, we need to be a profitable cog.” The meeting did not reach any final agreements, but it does appear that all parties are making an effort to understand each other’s point of views and will begin to compromise.

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