Cedar Rapids city leaders released statements today regarding the upcoming closure of the First Avenue Hy-Vee store. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — City leaders who met with Hy-Vee officials to discuss concerns about the closure of the First Avenue store next month expressed hope in interim solutions.

“Our meeting with community leaders last week identified priorities to ensure residents can continue to access essential services after the store closes,” Mayor Tiffany O’Donnell said in a statement Wednesday, May 22, 2024.

Read more: Hy-Vee requested silence on pending closure

O’Donnell received a phone call from Hy-Vee’s corporate office on May 9, stating the store would close on June 23.

“We brought these concerns to our meeting with Hy-Vee, focusing on things like grocery delivery charges, no-cost pharmaceutical deliveries, and partnerships with transportation providers and local food-access services for additional assistance during the transition,” she noted, calling it a positive meeting. “We will continue to support efforts to address these challenges and meet our community’s needs.”

The Cedar Rapids City Council discussed the closure of the store, at 1556 First Ave. NE, during a council meeting last week, with concerns that many residents in the core city neighborhood lack transportation to reach other stores or pharmacies.

At the time, it was unknown if Hy-Vee would put restrictions on the lease of the property that would prohibit other grocery stores from leasing the site, as has been done elsewhere.

City Manager Jeff Pomeranz said in a statement today that does not appear to be the case.

““Hy-Vee’s representatives demonstrated a clear understanding of the challenges and a commitment to collaborating on beneficial solutions,” Pomeranz said. “They focused on supporting our community members during the transition, and the discussion led to several promising solutions. Hy-Vee also indicated they are working with the property owner to avoid vacancy after the store’s closure and they will not place any use restrictions on the location, which is a positive sign. We are encouraged by their cooperation and hope we can continue working with them to ensure a smooth transition for our residents.”

Hy-Vee also issued a statement, promising free transportation and grocery delivery for a limited time for residents in the immediate neighborhood. See the full announcement in the Corridor Business Journal.

The First Avenue Hy-Vee store is shown in May 2024, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Hy-Vee announced the store will close on June 23. (photo/Cindy Hadish)