After celebrating the renovation of a McDonald’s in west Louisville, Mayor Greg Fischer was called out by a member of his own recently-formed Food Policy Council who was disappointed in the message it sent to food justice advocates.
The fast food restaurant at 28th and Broadway was closed for a few months for remodeling, but re-opened Thursday with a celebration of dance crews, drum lines and a visit from Ronald McDonald. Fischer attended the festivities and praised the store’s owner, but a local food justice advocate was displeased enough to voice her frustration.
Responding via Facebook, Metro employee SteVon Edwards, who sits on the food panel as a appointee from the health department, said the appearance was furthering the problem of poor food options in west Louisville.
“It would have been great to see a business similar to Growing Power pop up instead of perpetuating the health problems associated with this business,” she said.
Others commenting on the social networking site defended Fischer’s appearance, saying it brings jobs to the area while political observers questioned if the mayor was sending the wrong message.
For the past few years, city leaders have championed efforts to improve food security in west Louisville neighborhoods with programs such as the Mayor’s Healthy Hometown Movement and the Healthy in a Hurry Initiative. The effort to combat food desserts in places that have little access to fresh produce has been a chief priority of the health department.
In 2010, a city report found large swaths of west Louisville and east downtown lacked fresh produce, but were saturated by fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s.
A spokesman for the mayor did not return a request for comment.