Winn-Dixie will be moving into the spot currently occupied by Publix in the Gateway Shopping Center, according to a Wednesday release by city councilmember Reggie Gaffney.

"The latest development is part of a broader effort in the fight against food deserts in Jacksonville," the release said.

During the Nov. 26 council meeting, a bill was introduced which was co-sponsored by Gaffney and councilmember Sam Newby. It will give $850,000 from the Northwest Jacksonville Economic Development Fund to renovate the area, located at 5210 Norwood Ave., in preparation for its transition into Winn-Dixie.

“While Publix may be leaving, it creates an opportunity for other grocery stores to build a new relationship with the good people in Brentwood," Gaffney said. "Winn-Dixie is going to be that business. I am excited to have a grocery store who wants to be in District 7. I anticipate them to open during the first quarter of 2020.”

After news that Publix was leaving the shopping center on Dec. 28, the community was worried the area could become a food desert. 

A food desert is an area in a community in which it is difficult for residents to buy affordable or good-quality fresh food.

"We’ve been privileged to serve the Gateway community for two decades and are approaching the end of our lease at this location ..."  Dwaine Stevens,  Publix media and community relations manager, said in an email to First Coast News on Friday evening. "While it is always a difficult decision to make, we have decided to close this store by the end of 2019 on December 28th," the email stated.

Publix had served a large population of people who walk, ride their bike or take the bus to the grocery store.

Winn-Dixie is set to take over the spot by early 2020.

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