TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - The Toledo City Council approved a plan Tuesday that rezones the Sisters of Notre Dame land from single-family residential to commercial. That allows Kroger to build a store on the Sisters of Notre Dame property.
The sisters have been working to sell their land to Kroger for years.
The plan is to replace the Kroger at 4533 Monroe St. in favor of a newly built Kroger Marketplace on the 18.7 acres of the Sisters of Notre Dame property.
The sisters say they are happy with the decision. Sister Delores Gatliff says Kroger was only viable option for their former home.
"I want to thank all of those who wrote letters and supported us," said Sister Gatliff. "I respect those who have a differing opinion, but I'm very grateful it finally passed."
Kroger originally tried a rezone request to build on the property in 2015, but that measure failed. Tuesday, it passed 10 - 2.
A Kroger spokesperson says she believes one reason the plan passed this time is because of a change in the project that would keep more green space and add trees.
Tom Waniewski, Toledo council member, says he agrees.
"They're going to plant some 450 trees and retain the ones that are there - the ones that are not diseased anyway," said Waniewksi. "So, to me, Kroger had shown a good-faith effort to listen to the public and make some changes."
The Kroger will be in Waniewski's district.
Council members Sandy Spang and Peter Ujvagi were the two who voted against the plan.
Spang says she voted 'no' because Toledo could do better than to tear down a historically significant building for a big-box store.
"We can do a better job of utilizing historic tax credits. So today I voted for better," said Spang.
Yvonne Harper, Toledo council member, voted no back in 2015, but changed her mind this time around. Harper says she was touched when a nun approached her and said this:
"'Ms. Harper, do you own your property?' I said to her, 'I'm trying.' She said, 'If you own it, do you want someone to tell you who to sell it to?'" shared Harper, during the meeting.
There is not a timeline yet of when Kroger will shut down the Monroe Street store.
Kroger spokesperson Jennifer Jarrell says they have a lot to do, so it will be months, possibly years, before they open the new store.
During the meetings on Kroger's plan for the new store, there was talk about opening other stores in the city.
Council member Dr. Cecelia Adams had previously asked Kroger about opening a store downtown or in the Central City.
Jarrell says that's not a commitment they can make right now, but they're not against the possibility.
"We are open to exploring options in the Central City. We don't have a site in mind, but if sites were presented to us, we would be open to looking at them and developing something in the future, if and when it works for everyone involved," said Jarrell.