By LINDA MOSS
A Fourth Ward resident is organizing a demonstration and march for this Sunday to protest the delay in getting a supermarket to replace the closed Pathmark at Lackawanna Plaza.
Daniel Cruz is also circulating a petition and attempting to conduct a survey relating to the Pathmark, which has been shuttered since November 2015, and how area residents are coping since its demise.
Cruz described his initiative as a grassroots effort, and it is targeted at one of the firms designated as a redeveloper for the Lackawanna site, Pinnacle Cos. of Montclair. Pinnacle and its partner in the project, Hampshire Cos. of Morristown, have been in talks with ShopRite to become an anchor tenant of the redevelopment, but the project is several years away from completion.
The march is slated to start at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 7, at Lackawanna Plaza, go down to Church Street and the Clairidge Cinema and end at Pinnacle’s offices, which are at 363 Bloomfield Ave.
“The ownership group of The Hampshire Cos. and The Pinnacle Cos. looks forward to be working with the township on the redevelopment of Lackawanna Plaza,” a Pinnacle spokesman said.
The goal of the march is “to show this is a serious issue, that it’s affecting people in the Fourth Ward,” according to Cruz, and “to raise awareness of the issue of food insecurity.” The Pathmark was an affordable and convenient option for neighboring residents to buy groceries, and its absence has been a hardship for some, particularly the elderly.
The protest will also serve as a way to “to organize people in the area to come together and meet and create new connections and new relationships for future plans of action and coordination,” Cruz said.
He has just started circulating a petition, which has about two dozen names now, and lists three proposals. The first is that a farmers’ market be established either inside or outside Lackawanna Plaza until work starts on the redevelopment. The second proposal is that a ride-share program be set up to help those without vehicles get to supermarkets, such as the Brookdale ShopRite in Bloomfield.
Finally, the petition seeks an affirmation from Pinnacle that it plans to have a grocery store at Lackawanna, Cruz said. He said he is basically seeking some kind of timetable from Pinnacle.
In addition, Cruz is circulating a survey asking residents questions such as whether they would use a ride-share service or want a farmers’ market at Lackawanna.