Belvedere Gardens Shopping Center

There are 407 people who live in the area of Loch Raven and Belvedere in Baltimore who no longer have ready access to needed food and supplies. That’s because of the closing of the Belvedere Gardens Shopping, a 55,000-square-foot property which was anchored by a Family Dollar store, a Chinese Food restaurant, and several convenience stores.

The shopping center was important to residents who would shop there on a regular basis and could walk there, especially for people who may not have a car. The Chinese Restaurant, which was called China Wok, was one of the fast food delivery stores I would order from often, but now it’s closed.

It remains unclear why the shopping center closed last year. It was sold by its previous owner, Saul Centers, in 2012 for a reported $3.9 million to an undisclosed buyer. No matter the reason, the effects of the closing are real. The closest shopping center to the area is in Hillen Dale and takes close to 20 minutes to get to by foot. Although, there are more stores at the Hillen Dale location, that still doesn’t change the fact that it is an inconvenience to people who don’t drive.

While public transportation is an option, it is often a hindrance. The MTA bus line 3 does run there, but it can take up to a half-hour of travel time depending on the weather and whether the bus is running late, which it frequently does.

Fortunately, there are more stores at the Hillen Dale shopping center, such as Family Dollar, Giant, a nail shop, a beauty salon and a beauty supply shop, as well as plenty of fast food restaurants.

In many Black neighborhoods finding reliable food sources is often difficult. For example, a recent Johns Hopkins study found that one in four of the city’s residents live in so-called food deserts and have limited access to food.

Furthermore, many city residents rely on convenience stores because regular grocery stores are often inaccessible to residents.

The Belvedere Gardens Shopping Center was sold for $3.9 million to an unknown buyer and future plans remain unclear. What is clear, is that in the near future residents have limited options when it comes to healthy food.

Temprest Myers is an intern in the Baltimore office of the AFRO American. She is a journalism student at Morgan State University.