Dozens of people turned out at Indian Head Village Green on Monday evening and dozens more attended the monthly council meeting virtually. Almost everyone was waiting to see if this meeting would bring the town closer to its first grocery store in nearly 25 years.
The answer was a “Yes!” resounding.
After a lively and often heated discussion, City Council voted 2-1 in favor of an ordinance that will direct $375,000 in grants to Oasis Fresh Foods Market, which is a fraction of the $3 million the city has received. through the US federal government program. Rescue project.
Ahead of the meeting, more than 500 people submitted messages of support online, urging the city to support the new grocery store.
Mayor Brandon Paulin and Council Member Cassandra “Cassie” Grumbine voted to fund Oasis Fresh Foods Market.
“We need to address food disparities in our community,” Paulin said at the meeting. “Having fresh fruits and vegetables is necessary.”
Oasis Fresh Foods Market, slated to open in 2023, will provide the city with a source of fresh and affordable fruits and vegetables, delicious meats and seafood, supermarket staples and locally sourced prepared foods . Papaleo’s Ice Cream is a new company that will be tethered to the market, offering soft serve ice cream and to-go containers of premium small-batch ice cream from Baltimore-based Taharka Brothers.
The store will occupy the historic and soon-to-be-renovated Algonquin Building on MD-210, just outside the gates of Naval Support Facility Potomac.
City funds will initially be used to secure vacant land at the rear of the building that will be used for parking, as well as a community garden and open green space. The remaining portion will be used to expand the footprint of the Algonquin building to accommodate the needs of a good-sized grocery store and to begin outfitting the store with refrigeration, shelving, produce bins and other necessities.
A social and economic asset for the city
The grocery store is intended to be an economic engine for Indian Head, providing jobs for local residents and helping to raise the profile of the town to become more of a destination community in southern Maryland.
Oasis will become an active member of the Indian Head community, with plans to fund and support community initiatives as well as local events and charitable efforts. A team of business owners and municipal leaders from the city and surrounding areas are currently guiding the effort and will ultimately oversee Oasis’ transition to an employee-owned and operated entity.
Placing profit-sharing at the heart of its business plan, the store is designed to create an opportunity for residents to benefit from the prosperity of the market and the city itself.
In addition to private investment, Oasis Fresh Foods Market has been supported by federal, state, and local grants.
The Oasis team is currently finalizing plans with CMI, its general contractor, on concept designs and renderings for the project, and is working to obtain all necessary building permits.
Once permits are in place, renovations to the Algonquin Building can begin. The working estimate for this part of the project is that it will begin in late summer. In the meantime, residents will begin to see more activity on the site.
Once the vacant lots are acquired, the team plans to organize clean-up campaigns to begin beautifying the spaces and preparing for the next phases. Although nothing happens overnight, the effort should move forward as quickly as possible.
Oasis Fresh Foods Market is set to open in 2023.