We’ve been a little quiet about our expansion plans lately, but we’ve been busy behind the scenes! We’re working hard on site assessments, preliminary planning and real estate. I’m excited to announce the purchase of the Sidie Lawn & Sport Center property located on Broadway and Center! This was a necessary purchase to facilitate expansion plans, and a long time coming, but it’s not the only hurdle to expanding our Co-op.
Our next step involves the City of Viroqua. You may have noticed traffic counters in several positions around the Co-op in December. This study will help the City understand how Co-op shoppers affect the neighborhood and to estimate what our growth means for future traffic and pedestrian safety.
The traffic related to the Co-op is just one piece of a larger issue. It’s likely we’ll need to expand the Co-op into ALL the parking spots that are adjacent to the building, pushing all parking to areas across Center Avenue. This means every shopper would have to walk across Center Avenue to get from their car to the store. This is not optimum for the safety of our shoppers.
The question becomes: Is it possible to close a portion of Center Avenue directly behind the Co-op? If the 132 feet of North Center Avenue directly behind the VFC were closed, it would allow safe pedestrian access between the store and the parking area. Without the closure, VFC's ability to expand on our current site would be severely limited.
The Viroqua City Council is investigating and carefully moving through the protocol to determine what’s best for the City and for VFC. We’ll get a chance to voice our opinions and concerns at a Public Hearing on Tuesday, March 22, 5:00pm at City Hall, 202 North Main Street, Viroqua, 202 North Main Street, Viroqua. The outcome of the city's decision will affect how the Co-op can expand on our current site. Please show your support for the Viroqua Food Co-op by attending this hearing.
If you missed the discussion about expansion at the 2015 Annual Owners Meeting, click here to watch the Prezi online. This answers many of the questions about why the VFC is expanding and how the expansion process will unfold. Watch for more updates on our website and in the Pea Soup now that plans are heating up. When we know what our options are for design and timeline we’ll share progress with you regularly. I’m so excited to serve our community better with expanded services and more space. We want to share the VFC Experience!
Please take the time to fill out the VFC Owner Survey from March 21 – April 2. We’ve added special expansion questions and look forward to your comments in this survey. If VFC has a valid email address on file for you, getting to the survey will be easy! You will receive an email around March 21st with a link that will take you directly to the survey. If we do not have your email on file, you will receive a postcard in the mail with the survey’s online address. Don’t miss it!