SACRAMENTO -- A controversial Safeway store in Sacramento's Curtis Park neighborhood officially opened to the public Wednesday.
Many shoppers told FOX40 the new location brings convenience to the neighborhood.
"It’s kind of nice having it close. I’m pretty excited about this whole shopping center," said shopper Matthew Barajas.
The Safeway supermarket, which is not far from Sacramento City College and Land Park, will eventually be home to 30 retailers, eateries and services.
It has left some locals excited about the growth and economic development in their community.
"It was just a vacant area before that," said Cathy Roddy. "It was underused and it wasn’t serving any purpose except for just being a blight on our city. So now it’s a great new development with new tenants and new people and extra space for people who work in the downtown area."
But the site has always been shrouded in controversy.
It has been at the center of a legal dispute between the builder and the city of Sacramento over a possible gas station planned for the site.
"Hope there’s no gas station," said Samuel Lovelace. "Sometimes it brings a negative element sometimes to the neighborhood, I think. We have enough gas stations in the area, no need for one here."
Most people FOX40 spoke with said they have concerns about a gas station accompanying the Safeway store, with many people worried it will only slow down traffic in the area.
"It’s just the amount of traffic on 24th is a little worrisome, especially going through from Broadway to this area can be an issue," said Julie Grannen. "So I see why people were concerned."
The Sacramento City Council initially voted to deny a permit to build a gas station but then a superior court ruled the vote invalid, finding the council was prejudiced against the builder, Paul Petrovich. The city has since appealed that decision and for now, the case is pending.
But Petrovich is not ruling out a gas station coming to Crocker Village in time, telling FOX40 he feels a fuel center would be a great benefit to the area.
"To have a huge gas station there, they’d have to go back to the drawing board on the roads in and the roads out so that it doesn’t back up traffic in our neighborhood," Roddy said.