OPINION: FIRST THINGS FIRST
by Scott Hughes, Commissioner
It’s true – Ridgefield is finally getting a full-service grocery store. The interest in this project has been astounding. A larger community might have yawned. But to most people here this is the best news they’ve had in years! No more freeway trips to get the week’s groceries, more food variety, more organic options, lower prices – all good.
The behind-the-scenes story, however, could be viewed as even better news. It’s that your port and city worked hand-in-hand on this project to make it happen. With the community’s interest in mind, the city spent money and time recruiting a grocer that is community-minded and offers well-priced goods.
And the port? Admittedly, when the city approached us about this project we were skeptical. The Discovery Ridge property where the grocery store will go was slated for “bigger things” by the Port Commission – like high-tech employers, a health care campus or research facility that would bring high-quality jobs with higher-than-average wages to Ridgefield. At first glance, it wasn’t obvious that trading a grocery store for these goals made sense.
Then we did our homework. We learned that the absence of a grocery store in Ridgefield was actually hampering efforts to bring quality jobs to Ridgefield and the Discovery Corridor. Why? Because high-quality employers want to locate where there are urban services, because that’s what attracts high-quality employees. So, first things first, we concluded. A grocery store was the right thing at this time.
So with the full support of the city, and knowing the community was clamoring for a full-scale grocery store, the port commission voted unanimously to sell the property.
As you should expect from your public bodies, your city and port came together to help the community gets what it wants. Now that’s a recipe for community success.