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The Houston Chronicle has a story about a new H-E-B store in the city's Third Ward, described as "bringing fresh food, a pharmacy and conveniences such as curbside pickup and home delivery to … an area described as a 'food desert' for its lack of access to quality options."

The store, "four miles south of downtown at Texas Highway 288 and MacGregor Way … sits in an area with low access to quality food, defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a census tract where at least 500 people or a third of the population live more than half a mile from the nearest supermarket. After the Kroger on Old Spanish Trail closed in 2017, residents in the predominantly African American neighborhood had to drive to Bellaire and Pearland to shop for fresh produce, meat and seafood."

But, it is a solution that may be creating its own set of problems.

The Chronicle writes that "while many Third Ward residents said they welcome H-E-B to the neighborhood, some worried the new grocery store will accelerate the kind of transformation — revitalization to some, gentrification to others — that has taken place in many of Houston’s traditionally African American neighborhoods, such as Freedmen’s Town."

The story notes that "H-E-B has worked closely with the Third Ward community, holding neighborhood meetings to discuss the MacGregor store and sponsoring neighborhood events, such as home tours, back-to-school snacks for local schoolteachers and food for area firefighters. At Tuesday’s preview event, which featured local college and high school bands and dancers, H-E-B presented donations to several local nonprofit organizations. The company employs 420 at its MacGregor store."
KC's View:
There is a thin line between revitalization and gentrification, and where it is drawn often depends on who you are and where you are from. The one observation I would make is that a great food store - and H-E-B runs great food stores - can be a rallying point for a community, providing nourishment that goes beyond just food.

That's critical in any community. It can be even more so in communities like the Third Ward.