The Metro Council last week deferred a decision on funding for a cooperative endeavor agreement with a Jackson-based loan fund to increase access to fresh foods in underserved neighborhoods in East Baton Rouge Parish.
Mayor Sharon Weston Broome’s administration wants to allocate nearly $800,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds leftover from hurricanes Gustav and Ike to fund the healthy food retail initiative. The program is anticipated to begin in September, according to the CDBG amendment, with closing of all financial packages by April 2020.
Hope Enterprise Corporation of the Mid-South will operate the program, making loans to supermarkets and grocery stores that agree to sell food in a low-to-moderate income area of the parish.
Rowdy Gaudet, assistant chief administrative officer, told the council last week the administration was working out details for the use of the development block grant funds and wanted to defer the items until July’s Metro Council meeting. Gaudet was unable to be reached for more information before this morning’s deadline.