Sometimes, as Sigmund Freud might have put it, a grocery store is just a grocery store.
But last week's announcement that plans are underway for a market selling fresh foods in the heart of the city is something that should encourage anyone who's rooting for Fort Wayne's future – whatever part of the city they live in.
As development experts in just about any mid-size urban area will tell you, attracting a grocery store can be one of the most difficult steps in revitalizing a downtown. Even when there are large numbers of workers who migrate to the city's core each weekday, many will wait to shop for food and other essentials until they commute back to their subdivision. People who site grocery stores know they can succeed in the central city only if a good number of potential customers live nearby. Downtown Fort Wayne, with hundreds of new residential units open and more on the way, is becoming that kind of place.
But if a grocery store is a key for further downtown growth, the pursuit of one cannot be used as an excuse to ignore the need for a full-service grocery for the southeast side. City developers must continue to focus on that goal, too.