PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It’s hard to explain how excited they are over a grocery store.

“That’s my energy drink,” said Cheryl Hall-Russell with the Hill House Association. “I walk to the window and I watch them work, and it gets me very excited.”

“They are saying in the fall, but what has it been, like three years or something?” asked Clayton Pillow of the Hill District. “So it, look at this. This is crucial. I have to go and carry this sometimes on the bus when all I have to do is go two blocks down the street.”

Clayton is like hundreds on the Hill who have to get a ride or like Sheryl Lee — hop on the bus — just to buy groceries.

“It will make a lot of difference because then it will be like right across the street from my house, and we won’t have to get on the bus and carry the groceries all the way home,” Lee said.

A Rand study says that extra hassle means those in the hill spend as much as three hours just to go to the store.

“With the store being there, I can walk down and get my little loaf of bread or whatever,” said Virginia Montgomery of the Hill District.

Construction on the 29,000-square foot facility is supposed to be done by September — and the first full-sized grocery store in the hill since the ‘80s could spark more growth uptown.

“People from downtown coming into the Hill District and not only for the grocery store, but it attracts them in and they say ‘Wow, all this new housing is going up here. This isn’t the hill district I always hear about,’” said Rob Farmer, project manager for Sphynx Group. “There’s a new energy that’s going on in this neighborhood and we’re hoping that this project is going to be a catalyst toward that.”

“The real impact is for the community,” said Farmer. “These people have waited a very, very long time to have what is essentially what is really a basic service.”

“I can’t wait for it to be open,” said Pillow said.

And the wait now is mere months — not years.

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