Food for thought: Where to put the City Market?

dish-city-market-sunriseFor 17 years the Charlottesville City Market has greeted the sunrise in the Water Street parking lot, but vendors now want a new home.
PHOTO BY LESLIE JENKINS

When it comes to finding a permanent home for the long popular Charlottesville City Market, City government hasn't exactly been quick on the draw.

"We were looking at a City memorandum dated 1993," says Kathy Kildea of Market Central, a non-profit organization formed to preserve and enhance the City Market, "that talked about the Water Street lot as a temporary move, and that priority ought to be given to find a more permanent solution."

Indeed, the 35-year old City Market (which is operated by the City but funded by vendor sales and slot fees)  has been "temporarily" located in the city-owned Water Street parking lot for nearly two decades. And while there's been a lot of talk and study about creating a permanent home for the Market, including a $150,000 tax-payer funded design contest meant to inspire private development on the Water Street lots (one of them is privately owned) that would incorporate the City Market, there hasn't been much action.

During a November 4 Council session on the future of the City Market, Kildea and other market supporters gathered to encourage the City to finally follow through on its promise.

"The sporadic conversations over the last 17 years have not been focused on a permanent home," says Kildea, "they've simply looked at locations where it might fit."

Court Square, the Jefferson School, the east end of the Downtown Mall, McIntire Park, the LexisNexis parking deck, and the parking lot near the Albemarle County Office Building were all mentioned as possible locations, but no decisions were made. Instead, Council agreed to form a task force to study the issue and give recommendations in about three months.

Of course, the irony here is that an "overwhelming majority" of vendors and customers have said they'd like to see the market stay right where it is, says Kildea. However, with over 100 vendors now crowding the lot, she says the space has become problematic. But the temporary arrangement makes it impossible address those flaws.

"Would you remodel your kitchen in a home you rented month-to-month?" Kildea asks.

But wouldn't it be risky to move a farmer's market that has made such a name for itself in its current location?

"You're absolutely right," says Kildea. "Moving the market is risky. But the City has made it clear that their intention is to develop that lot. There are no imminent plans to do so, but as long as we know it's going to happen, is it not wise to plan a thoughtful move versus waiting until we have to move?"

In addition, Kildea says the Market isn't about to count on a future development of the lot that might include them.

"The design contest was simply to inspire ideas," she says, "with no guarantee that any of the submitted design proposals would actually be built."

On Market Central's website they have a section called "Dreamer's Corner," where they showcase farmer's markets around the country that have managed to secure permanent locations. One of them, the Harrisonburg Farmer's Market, moved into a beautiful Turner Pavilion in 2008 that was built on city-owned property.

"We were also in a parking lot for 30 years, " says market manager Josie Showalter, "but we were blessed."

That blessing came in the form of a $100,000 gift from the local Turner family, another $100,000 raised from market supporters, some City funds, and a last-minute $100,000 to fund the construction of the Pavilion. The City, says Showalter, offered a 30-year lease and asked only that the public be allowed to use it on non-market days.

Kildea says that the Market Central, as a non-profit, would be willing to secure grants and seek donations to minimize or even eliminate the cost to tax payers of such a move, and would even considering purchasing a property outright, but as she points out, those efforts can't commence without first finding a location.

To begin to realize such a dream, of course, the Market first needs a location where the threat of development won't be hanging over their heads. And as far as Charlottesville Mayor Dave Norris is concerned, that's what this new task force will be all about.

"The Market needs and deserves more permanence," says Norris. "That's one of the top criteria we'll use in finding a site."

So, where do you think the City Market should move?

91 comments

Although I make a point of not responding to anonymous correspondents, I would note several points:

The market's website-posted 7 am-noon span works out to five hours. The market's current 8 am-2 pm span works out to six hours. If a vendor has to get up at 4 am to be set up by opening time, then that vendor has already put in a ten-hour day by the time he or she can pack up and go home. I call that punitive.

People are indeed creatures of habit. That's why -- temperature and time of sunrise notwithstanding -- some are still showing up at 7 am, or so vendors have told me.

Regardless of temperature and time of sunrise, the best stuff still goes early. And any serious market shopper knows that and acts accordingly.

I live near the market. So it's not uncommon for me to walk by the site again in late morning. Each time I do, I'm struck by how many fewer people are wandering around than were earlier.

A management that cannot be bothered to post accurate operating hours on a website intended for public reference is a management that invites scrutiny on other counts and fair criticism where due.

The Charlottesville City Market is not a store, and its vendors are not employees. The market is an event in which its vendors are participants. I'm grateful to them all for their participation, and I believe that they all deserve as much consideration and respect as both management and the public can tender them.

Kathy- Has there been any discussion about the Meade Park Market? We're concerned that Parks & Rec may try to move it elsewhere.

Wherever the Saturday market lands, I hope there will be more amenities available for the vendors (electricity, bathrooms etc) and that there will be adequate room for the market to grow.

Kkildea: Well then by that logic you definitely shouldn't put it in Belmont because there is no parking as it is and it would be insensitive to stop their lives.

Ix seems like a great location. It's close to the parking garage, has extensive space for vendors, parking, and most businesses on site are closed on the weekend.

St. Halsey - it's one of the sites the City has considered. A couple of the 'cons' reported at the work session the other night were: conflict with ball games on Saturday mornings, issues with pedestrian access, and limited customer parking. (There are about 60 county vehicles parked in that lot through the weekend.) Could a shade structure/pavilion be placed there and still maintain the parking lot? Could mid-week markets be held there? Would it meet the criteria set forth for 'permanent'? - don't know, just askin!

cya - That would be cool, huh? I love the idea of re-purposing the Ix building, and the thought of a vibrant farmers market within that site is exciting. However, the property is privately owned, and the owner is not interested in a long term arrangement with the market. So, in 3-5 years, we'd be having this conversation all over again.

Why not the Albemarle County Office Building parking lot? Great location , lots of parking and it's not used on the weekend.

Seems to me that the McIntire Park would be the perfect place for a structure ( a pavilion or a more closed structure that could be used year round). It has lots of parking (and space for more parking, if needed in the future) and would be convenient for the farmers to access early in the morning without disturbing anyone while they set up their produce stands. This same area could be used for all kinds of festivals throughout the year. It could be rented by families for reunions and by clubs/organizations for fundraisers.

We could just wait a few years and put it where the reservoir used to be.

Victoria-
One of the criteria that was tentatively identified at the work session was that a potential site should be available more than one day per week. If all of our markets were held in the same location, there would be amenities and continuity that would benefit all of the markets - not just Saturday morning. I personally think it's unfortunate that they have to close the new, multi-million dollar water park every Wednesday afternoon during the summer to hold the market. Would you mind expanding on your concerns a little?

And yes, the task force will be identifying criteria for a permanent home, including some basic amenities like running water and electricity. The task force will also be considering ways to limit the congestion.

ANGirl - all good selling points, indeed!

KK:

I should have said that the ex-Charlottesville Lumber parcel is at the intersection of Avon Street and Levy Avenue (rather than Garrett Street). And the address is 310 Avon Street.

Tom, the City is involved because it's the City's market, operated by the City since its inception, budgeted and administered by the City, and on City land. As such, the City should have first crack at solving the problem. But if they wait too much longer (another 17+ years?) they may find vendors do exactly what you ponder - and take the market elsewhere. I would think it behooves City Council to be better caretakers of this market. Just sayin'.

Interesting side story in this article is how Harrisonburg accomplished what we're trying to do. And there are markets all over the country - facing the same development issues, the same growing pains, the same financial squeezes - that are figuring it out every day. We can do it here, too.

To all who have responded to this article. You all need to think and plan longer term down the road. Most all of your ideas aren't permanent solutions to your problem. I have extensively researched Farmers Markets all over this country. There are some very beautiful well laid out Indoor/Outdoor facilities that accomodate both year round. The market continues to grow and make an impressive amount of money. My hope was that someone could come up with a facility that could be utilized everyday not just for the market's needs but for other community purposes. This could be a multipurpose facility for the entire county to use. The City of Charlottesville has not done a good job or justice to this market. It should have provided a permanent place a long time ago instead of rushing to play to developers and buildings that now stand unfinished and vacant. They spent all that money to upgrade the downtown mall which they considered to be a City Treasure. Why not the market? Albemarle County needs to take care of it's agricultural base and provide for same. Take a look at the beautiful farmers market in downtown Roanoke. Take a look at the beautiful ones they have in St. Lawrence. Charlottesville may not be big city but with all the resources and money that flows into projects such as 15 million to buy Brown's Mt (with use of Revenue Bonds) and such other numerous projects I could name I'm sure something could be done for the market.

I hope that public transit will play a role in where the City Market winds up - some potential sites (city parks, such as Meade or Tonsler) are on regular bus lines, which could help encourage people to use CAT and mitigate parking problems somewhat.

Farmer's Market at Foxfield: space, parking and green grass.

Gate - yes, I remember looking at plans years ago. I don't recall how large an area they encompassed - that was some time ago, do you think the footprint would be large enough? I'd love to see the sketches if you have them available to scan to me?

I wanted to elaborate that I haven't suggested that Meade Park is appropriate for the big Saturday Market-- it's far too small and parking would be a huge issue. It is appropriate, however, in its current usage as a smaller satellite market location.

@Maureen Everts-- why would the Circus Grounds not work as a permanent solution? The City-owned market will remain in the City, not move to the county. I agree with you that it's high time that the market was treated with the care it deserves. That's why it needs to be located centrally, adjacent to public transportation, and the City needs to make sure it goes where it has plenty of room to grow.

While a reuse of the IX building has long been proposed, the owners have applied for a demolition permit.

The ONLY reason that the market is in the black in terms of operating expenses is that the city has built nothing to accommodate it. That will no longer be the case if a permanent home requires something other than a vacant lot. I suspect it would already not be the case if lost parking revenues from the lot the market is currently in were considered.

Real estate values and building costs in the real world, rather than in the pipe dream world of "competitions" are such that once those lots are developed, there will be no home for the market downtown. It just isn't going to happen, and there is really no reason why it should. It might make sense in some cities, like Lynchburg or Roanoke to have a downtown market, but we don't really need that. Upper story housing and offices with street level retail makes much more sense here.

An important and apparently overlooked step towards finding a home other than downtown for a farmers market is defining its mission. Is it a small business incubator as one poster described it? If so, then what benefit comes to the city from incubating businesses in Albemarle or Nelson counties? Is it to draw consumers downtown? If so then can anyone demonstrate that the net benefit to having a permanent farmers market downtown would outweigh the benefits of having many more people actually living downtown or more street level business, possibly even including a small grocery store?

If the market can be shown to be something that the city has some real reason to be managing, then I'd suggest that the parking lot at Charlottesville High School be modified in whatever minimal way meets the needs of the market. If there isn't any real reason to keep the market in the city limits, then I believe Darden Towe Park would be the next best location for a market. If the market itself is a draw, then either of those locations ought to do very well. Either would allow for growth in the future and either could also allow for a flea market which would draw many more people than currently come for the produce alone.

Is it expected that the city will purchase the land if it doesn't already own it? Is it expected that P&R will continue to run the new City Market or will Market Central take over the city's current responsibilities?

@Amazed, originally the owners of Ix planned to put housing on the northern (Monticell Avenue) side of the property. Perhaps they are proceeding with that idea.

How about the vacant triangle of land that formerly belonged to Gleasons, behind and across the tracks from the pink warehouse?

"The City-owned market will remain in the City, not move to the county."

That is ridiculous. There is nothing to own and anyone who chose to do so could set up a place for farmers to sell produce. The only thing keeping that from happening is that if it were a real business and not subsidized, it would quickly fail.

@cookieJar-- it's a given that the county can certainly start up a farmer's market whenever they want to do so. Scottsville already has one. However, the current existing City Market is run by the city and, as the headline states: "Where to put the CITY Market?"

People have suggested that the market be moved to various locations in the county. Why would the City locate and administer a City Market in the county? That's for the county to do.

The owners of Ix are currently demolishing the northern building and have stated "We hope to bring the Charlottesville City Market to Ix". There are plan to connect the parking lots and build a Koi pond and other landscaping elements. The City needs to figure out how to make this work.

@Victoria Dunham, I think cookiejar is saying that there's no reason why MarketCentral can't set up and run its own market. When the City Market was first started by the city, it was considered a P&R activity, something for people to do, like ceramics or pottery. No one envisioned to become an incorporated business with over 100 vendors and over a million in sales. That's why I asked are people expecting the city to provide a large track of land near downtown parking that will accommodate at least 100 vendors? The amount of land in the city that large is not cheap. That's why the city allocated $150k for the market's relocation effort. If the city has to buy the land, then what kind of facilities will the city have to provide? What is the exact purpose of the allocation. I'm curious, like cookiejar, is this going to become another subsidized downtown business?

CVille Eye / cookiejar - Our hope is that the task force will help identify a way to make a permanent home a reality. Market Central isn't interested in running the City Market, but we are interested in its long-term welfare. So what does that mean? Well, if there's a PLAN for a permanent home, we could raise funds for a permanent home, and not expect that the bill will be placed at the feet of city taxpayers. We've researched and found a number of different markets all over Virginia, and all over the country, who have figured out lots of creative ways to do this. The Harrisonburg market (see story) is a great example of how a combination of private and public resources can make it happen. But the process has to start by making it a priority, and I think Council has taken that first step by establishing the task force to start figuring out how we can do it.

And by the way, for 37 of its 38 years, the market has operated in the black. The only contribution from the City has been use of the City-owned parking lot on Saturday mornings. All other expenses (manager salaries, advertising, portojohn, etc) come out of the fees that vendors pay, and there's money left over. It's been this way for YEARS, with no re-investment of the surplus funds into market enhancements of any kind. Sad. Parks & Rec Director Brian Daly informed us at the work session that the City Market is the ONLY P&R program that recovers 100% of its costs in fees.

Now, would that equation change with the advent of a permanent home scenario? Maybe. Maybe not. We don't have grand plans, illusions, (delusions?) about a multi-million dollar, state of the art facility. It simply needs a home. A real, honest-to-goodness HOME. The market regularly brings about 5,000 people downtown, and it's a prime source for fresh, local and nutritious foods, not to mention fabulous local artisans, and routine examples of amazing human-to-actual-human contact! It's a small business incubator, educational opportunity, tourist attraction .... Sorry, I could go on and on, but you get the point.

And Cville Eye, you're absolutely right in saying there's no reason why Market Central can't set up and run its own market. We most certainly could, but what a monumental duplication of effort that would be. We believe the community would be greater served by putting our effort and resources behind this one.

@Ix, that rumor has been around a long time. Since neither the city nor the Charlottesvile Redevlopment and Housing Authority owners the development neither one can relocate anything. Looking at the current master plan of CRHA, there is absolutely no evidence that there are plans to do anything at Friendshp Court. (Nor are there plans in it to make Westhaven UVA housing. The actual plans are to add even more public housing.) Where is your documentation or please point to a source other than the stree for your statement.

It should be noted that two-thirds of the Ix project developers are the same folks featured in the Amtrak station "Dust devils" story -- that is, Gabe Silverman and Allan Cadgene. The third Ix party is Ludwig Kuttner. Details can be found at whatisix.com.

cya - that would be really, really interesting IF there's a long term agreement included. I'll relay the information to the task force for follow up. Thank you.

Ix sure would go along well with the City's "secret" plan to relocate the public housing at Friendship Court and redevelop the site.

@Kkildea, thanks for your taking the time to clarify. This is the first time, thanks to you and the Hook< that I know of that an issue of this nature is aired before the public in a way that citizens can weigh-in before a committee makes its report or it ends up on an agenda. People are not limited to three minutes here. I certainly hope that the task force is made up of open, positive, thoughtful people like you. I wish the market well.
@cya, thanks for your contribution.
To the rest of you, thank you for not being dumbos and mean-spirited.

yeah.... what Cville Eye said. *cheers*

And for the record -- Market Central will continue to listen and relay information to the task force throughout this process. So, once the comment thread closes, please feel free to email us at marketcentral@bnsi.net, check us out online (www.marketcentralonline.org), or chat us up at the City Market on Saturday mornings - next to the market manager. We love to hear what vendors and shoppers are thinking, and believe that the best possible solution will come about if we decide, collectively, how best to support the future of the City Market.

Thanks again for all the intelligent, civilized commentary. It is very much noticed .... and appreciated.

As someone who comes into the city from Albemarle to shop at the City Market, parking is an issue. It is possible that you need 2+ (more?) square footage for parking over the space for the Market. That makes a permanent location difficult to define. Weather is also an issue for vendors and buyers alike.
I'd suggest using the Water St Garage as the site with the Market on the highest covered level on poor weather days and the roof level on good weather days. Provide free parking based on dollars spent so the big spenders can wander the Downtown Mall for another few hours without cost and spend more dollars there. Giving vendors time to adopt the height restrictions of the garage will let them plan their next truck.
To address the need for a second day for the Market, have a limited vendor area for the midweek Market. Crafters and coffee vendors don't need to be there and may not want to compete for the limited time for the working enviornment of Monday - Friday downtown. Locals can do their shopping in the morning, downtown workers can shop during their lunch break.
I don't need a mid-week visit downtown, the Tuesday market at Forest Lakes offers everything I need. That busy mid-week market need may be best served by distributed markets around town and the County.

Free parking? The parking garages are owned by a private, incorporated company and somebody will have to pay for those parking spaces. As for shopping at the market during lunch, the vast majority of workers downtown have/take a half hour for lunch and don't even shop in the existing stores. However, I would have no problem with the market being in a garage in the morning.

G-man - I've heard the parking garage suggested, and I believe it was brought up at the work session last week. Unfortunately, I think the vehicle height limit is a real stumbling block, and would continue to be a problem because the kind of vehicle needed to move a large volume of produce is much larger than your average pick up truck. I'm taking a quick mental tally of some of our current vendors with vehicles whose trucks would likely not make it into the deck, and it's at least 12 - and they're pretty much the backbone of the produce vendors at the market. If such restrictions were placed on these growers, it would not be a matter of 'planning for their next truck' - it would mean that they would no longer vend at our market.

Accessibility for vendors is a major consideration for any location, including the many suggestions we've heard for using parks or greenspace for a farmers market. The mid-week (smaller) markets utilize turf surfaces, but for the larger Saturday market, the foot and vehicle traffic would destroy the surface in short order. Does it need to be asphalt and concrete? Heavens, no. But the same grass you love to feel between your toes won't be there very long after produce trucks and thousands of customers have trampled it.

I'd be interested in hearing others comment on the likelihood that they would shop, linger, and socialize at the market if it were held in a parking garage. It seems to me that while it might solve some of the mechanical needs of space and shelter, the market would lose a lot of its appeal, causing customers to stop buying, and eventually stop coming.

Anyone care to weigh in on this one?

Cheri Lewis - You're right about not discarding any ideas at this stage. When we're inviting community input, we shouldn't toss any ideas in the brainstorming phase - I hope we haven't given that impression, because that's not our intention. The parking garage remains on the list for consideration, I was merely pointing out issues that have been identified, and asking for more input. Thanks for your input, and for reminding me of the view! (I haven't been up there in awhile, and this weekend might just be a great opportunity to get up there and soak in some glorious autumn color!)

LR - it's on the list of possibilities to explore. Thank you!

i would probably stop going if it were in a parking garage. the city market on a saturday is about more than getting in and getting out with goods. plus, what would everyone do - wait for the elevator/walk up the ramps? no thanks. it needs to be outdoors to maximize appeal.

What about the old Martha Jefferson? Perhaps the city could work out a long term deal here?

@cya: the Water Street parking garage has three very nice stairways. You don't have to walk up ramps or use elevators unless you want to.

And for those who have opined that people wouldn't come to a Market in a garage: take yourselves up to the top of the garage and look at the view! You can almost touch Carter's Mountain. The top level provides plenty of sunlight, with an option in bad weather to move a level lower. And can the clearance issue be resolved by renovations to the garage? No idea should be so readily discarded so early in this process by anyone.

Another idea: the parking lot of the County Office Building on McIntire. Except for little league games, it is never used on Saturdays, and provides a large surface lot like the current one. No shelter from the elements, but good access and unlike the current location, there are some shade trees.

Kathy - How about the end of Preston Avenue near IY? I have studied two design variations that eliminate the uneccessary turn lanes in favor of creating a large plaza dedicated to a permanent farmer's market. At one point the city promoted the idea of developing this area. It would be a nice anchor to Preston, and a nice central location. It would also put the market close to Washington Park for overflow.

what on earth does it take to get an innocuous comment to post after waiting nearly 10 hours and trying numerous times?

there must be some magic that triggers the bot. is it black?

Not that word, then what pray tell is it? I've read my comment numerous times trying to figure out what could possibly be wrong with it and I'm drawing a blank.

The ONLY reason that the market is in the (not red) in terms of operating expenses is that the city has built nothing to accommodate it. That will no longer be the case if a permanent home requires something other than a vacant lot. I suspect it would already not be the case if lost parking revenues from the lot the market is currently in were considered.

Real estate values and building costs in the real world, rather than in the pipe dream world of ââ?¬Å?competitions” are such that once those lots are developed, there will be no home for the market downtown. It just isn’t going to happen, and there is really no reason why it should. It might make sense in some cities, like Lynchburg or Roanoke to have a downtown market, but we don’t really need that. Upper story housing and offices with street level retail makes much more sense here.

An important and apparently overlooked step towards finding a home other than downtown for a farmers market is defining its mission. Is it a small business incubator as one poster described it? If so, then what benefit comes to the city from incubating businesses in Albemarle or Nelson counties? Is it to draw consumers downtown? If so then can anyone demonstrate that the net benefit to having a permanent farmers market downtown would outweigh the benefits of having many more people actually living downtown or more street level business, possibly even including a small grocery store?

Still awaiting moderation since 2:21 this afternoon? Mention of a color the only reason I can think of. That's more than just a little ridiculous moderator.

The ONLY reason that the market is in the (not red) in terms of operating expenses is that the city has built nothing to accommodate it. That will no longer be the case if a permanent home requires something other than a vacant lot. I suspect it would already not be the case if lost parking revenues from the lot the market is currently in were considered.

Real estate values and building costs in the real world, rather than in the pipe dream world of ââ?¬Å?competitions” are such that once those lots are developed, there will be no home for the market downtown. It just isn’t going to happen, and there is really no reason why it should. It might make sense in some cities, like Lynchburg or Roanoke to have a downtown market, but we don’t really need that. Upper story housing and offices with street level retail makes much more sense here.

An important and apparently overlooked step towards finding a home other than downtown for a farmers market is defining its mission. Is it a small business incubator as one poster described it? If so, then what benefit comes to the city from incubating businesses in Albemarle or Nelson counties? Is it to draw consumers downtown? If so then can anyone demonstrate that the net benefit to having a permanent farmers market downtown would outweigh the benefits of having many more people actually living downtown or more street level business, possibly even including a small grocery store?

If the market can be shown to be something that the city has some real reason to be managing, then I’d suggest that the parking lot at Charlottesville High School be modified in whatever minimal way meets the needs of the market. If there isn’t any real reason to keep the market in the city limits, then I believe Darden Towe Park would be the next best location for a market. If the market itself is a draw, then either of those locations ought to do very well. Either would allow for growth in the future and either could also allow for a flea market which would draw many more people than currently come for the produce alone.

Still awaiting moderation since 2:21 this afternoon? Mention of a color the only reason I can think of. That’s more than just a little ridiculous moderator.

The ONLY reason that the market is in the (not red) in terms of operating expenses is that the city has built nothing to accommodate it. That will no longer be the case if a permanent home requires something other than a vacant lot. I suspect it would already not be the case if lost parking revenues from the lot the market is currently in were considered.

Real estate values and building costs in the real world, rather than in the pipe dream world of ââ?¬Å?competitions” are such that once those lots are developed, there will be no home for the market downtown. It just isn’t going to happen, and there is really no reason why it should. It might make sense in some cities, like Lynchburg or Roanoke to have a downtown market, but we don’t really need that. Upper story housing and offices with street level retail makes much more sense here.

An important and apparently overlooked step towards finding a home other than downtown for a farmers market is defining its mission. Is it a small business incubator as one poster described it? If so, then what benefit comes to the city from incubating businesses in Albemarle or Nelson counties? Is it to draw consumers downtown? If so then can anyone demonstrate that the net benefit to having a permanent farmers market downtown would outweigh the benefits of having many more people actually living downtown or more street level business, possibly even including a small grocery store?

If the market can be shown to be something that the city has some real reason to be managing, then I’d suggest that the parking lot at Charlottesville High School be modified in whatever minimal way meets the needs of the market. If there isn’t any real reason to keep the market in the city limits, then I believe Darden Towe Park would be the next best location for a market. If the market itself is a draw, then either of those locations ought to do very well. Either would allow for growth in the future and either could also allow for a flea market which would draw many more people than currently come for the produce alone.

Still awaiting moderation since 2:21 for this comment. Mention of a color the only reason I can think of. My (old) username maybe? That's more than just a little ridiculous moderator.

The ONLY reason that the market is in the (not red) in terms of operating expenses is that the city has built nothing to accommodate it. That will no longer be the case if a permanent home requires something other than a vacant lot. I suspect it would already not be the case if lost parking revenues from the lot the market is currently in were considered.

Real estate values and building costs in the real world, rather than in the pipe dream world of ââ?¬Å?competitions” are such that once those lots are developed, there will be no home for the market downtown. It just isn’t going to happen, and there is really no reason why it should. It might make sense in some cities, like Lynchburg or Roanoke to have a downtown market, but we don’t really need that. Upper story housing and offices with street level retail makes much more sense here.

An important and apparently overlooked step towards finding a home other than downtown for a farmers market is defining its mission. Is it a small business incubator as one poster described it? If so, then what benefit comes to the city from incubating businesses in Albemarle or Nelson counties? Is it to draw consumers downtown? If so then can anyone demonstrate that the net benefit to having a permanent farmers market downtown would outweigh the benefits of having many more people actually living downtown or more street level business, possibly even including a small grocery store?

If the market can be shown to be something that the city has some real reason to be managing, then I’d suggest that the parking lot at Charlottesville High School be modified in whatever minimal way meets the needs of the market. If there isn’t any real reason to keep the market in the city limits, then I believe Darden Towe Park would be the next best location for a market. If the market itself is a draw, then either of those locations ought to do very well. Either would allow for growth in the future and either could also allow for a flea market which would draw many more people than currently come for the produce alone.

Mala, can you be more specific about the tract of land you're speaking about, please?

First off, I think that the City Market needs to change its name to "Farmer's Market". That said, I know that Chuck Lewis had at one point talked to the City about the lot near the RR track and putting the city market there. It would be a perfect place for a market site. Can we convince the city to consider buying that land? It would be quite perfect in my estimation.

Still awaiting moderation. Mention of a color the only reason I can think of. That's more than just a little ridiculous moderator.

The ONLY reason that the market is in the (not red) in terms of operating expenses is that the city has built nothing to accommodate it. That will no longer be the case if a permanent home requires something other than a vacant lot. I suspect it would already not be the case if lost parking revenues from the lot the market is currently in were considered.

Real estate values and building costs in the real world, rather than in the pipe dream world of ââ?¬Å?competitions” are such that once those lots are developed, there will be no home for the market downtown. It just isn’t going to happen, and there is really no reason why it should. It might make sense in some cities, like Lynchburg or Roanoke to have a downtown market, but we don’t really need that. Upper story housing and offices with street level retail makes much more sense here.

An important and apparently overlooked step towards finding a home other than downtown for a farmers market is defining its mission. Is it a small business incubator as one poster described it? If so, then what benefit comes to the city from incubating businesses in Albemarle or Nelson counties? Is it to draw consumers downtown? If so then can anyone demonstrate that the net benefit to having a permanent farmers market downtown would outweigh the benefits of having many more people actually living downtown or more street level business, possibly even including a small grocery store?

If the market can be shown to be something that the city has some real reason to be managing, then I’d suggest that the parking lot at Charlottesville High School be modified in whatever minimal way meets the needs of the market. If there isn’t any real reason to keep the market in the city limits, then I believe Darden Towe Park would be the next best location for a market. If the market itself is a draw, then either of those locations ought to do very well. Either would allow for growth in the future and either could also allow for a flea market which would draw many more people than currently come for the produce alone.

If there isn’t any real reason to keep the market in the city limits, then I believe (THAT PARK ON THE RIVER RIGHT OFF OF 20N) would be the next best location for a market. If the market itself is a draw, then either of those locations ought to do very well.

done-

So the bot doesn't like the name of someone who the County has chosen to memorialize by naming a park after him and it won't allow a comment that names him? What a way to have a productive dialog!!! No wonder so many people complain about being censored!

i guess anything I have to sat doesn't really matter anymore ,but as I was a vendor and a buyer at the city market I just want to make my thoughts clear it is a open market to sell goods a market is a out of doors experience vendors bring a tent or some other way to sell there goods if the market was to go indoors you should just go to all the grocery stores to buy your goods we as farmers and vendors do not want a indoor market indoor markets have failed all over the country we have tried for 38 years to get the city of cville to give or rent a home for the market I suppose it will be another 50 years before this happens I mean just look at what they are doing now ,they are taking a park that was donated to them and adding a roadway for what purpose I really don't know if you want a bypass build a road that bypasses the whole town I may never be able to sell at the city market again ,but I'm persuing another market plan in the county and at uva

Antoinette -
Unfortunately, the market website isn't updated frequently enough to capture the late season hours. During November & December, the market is open 8 am to 2 pm, and despite the erroneous website information, the vendors have been supplied with this information, and there have been numerous postings at the market for customers about the change in hours. If a vendor sold out before closing time and wanted to leave, they could. BUT, they are not allowed to drive a vehicle in/out of the lot before the market closes. Just too dangerous with close quarters and shoppers. So if they were reprimanded, it was absolutely appropriate, IMO. But if they don't have a vehicle with them, I think that they're able to check out when it suits them. Sounds completely logical to me. And, again - this information has been given to vendors.

This isn't 'punitive' for vendors - the change in hours is to accomodate shifting customer trends. When it's cold and/or dark in the early morning hours -- customers by and large just don't go to the market that early. They wait until it warms up a bit. Makes sense to me on both selling and buying sides of the stall. Unfortunately, being such creatures of habit and sometimes not listening when we're told about changes, some folks will claim that they didn't get the memo. It's all good - if everyone takes their happy pills every morning. :-)

In that this discussion seems to have branched beyond the question of market location, I'd be interested in knowing what others think about market hours.

This past Saturday, a vendor told me that another vendor had been chastised by market management for leaving before 2 pm. That surprised me on two counts. For one, I would have thought an independent producer who'd paid for a slot would be free to leave whenever he or she chose. For another, I had no idea anyone was expected to stay until 2.

The market website gives hours as 7 to noon. Because a vendor told me, I learned that opening time went to 8 am when we went off Daylight Displacement Time. If it's true that vendors are actually being required to stay until 2, I can see good reason for outright revolt.

Many of those people put in extra long Fridays in anticipation of the market. Many have to be up at 4 or even 3 am to get here for opening time. To require them to stay late on Saturday is nothing short of punitive. Also, most vendors have very limited supplies of produce. I try to get to the market no later than an hour after opening because I know that if I don't many of my favorite vendors will already be sold out of what I want most. If small vendors have to stay for six hours, they'll do so standing in empty stalls.

How about PVCC parking lots? Upper lot for venders, lower lots for parking.

I agree w/Old Timer, I am tired of everything being pushed on Belmont and the mall area.

What about that place on Rio Rd next to the putt putt? It's a location where no restaurant survives, turn that into the market place, or is that land not in the city?

Why not Belmont Park? It has sidewalks going through it. Convenient, and in te middle of a large residential neighborhood. nd lots of street parking.

Just a note of correction: our organization, MARKET CENTRAL, is a non-profit corporation. The City Market is a separate entity, operated by the City of Charlottesville, whose operating budget has been completely funded by sales-generated revenue (slot fees) paid by vendors throughout the years. This revenue has surpassed expenses in 37 out of the market's 38 years of operation.

How 'bout on the grounds of one of the city schools? They're unused on weekends.

Ms. Kildea,

I've updated the post to include your clarifications. Thanks for letting us know.

Dave McNAir

Seems easy to me. You put it in Court Square--close off a couple of streets and have the vendors set up on the sidewalks--use the park there as well. People would park at the Market Street garage and you would have plenty of attractive space to set up the market. This keeps the market downtown in a space that recently was upgrade with buried utilities and brick streets.

Max,

How typical of people to think that Belmont residents should be compelled to give up their residential streets as a parking lots for yet more commercial activities, and what little peace they have left to the invasion of hundreds of people at the crack of dan on Saturday. I suppose that's superb after a night of late nigh bars and traffic from that. It's not enough that they are supposed to park a block away from their own home as their residential streets are used as 24 hour business parking lots, now they can do it in another part of the area.

It never ceases to amaze me how people think they should punish a neighborhood already designed to be pedestrian oriented, and force them to subsidize all the activities of commuters.

I tell you what, why not choose Greenleaf park? Lots of on street parking there. Nice big neighborhood. I think it's time the rest of Charlottesville started becoming more mixed use like Belmont, and experiencing what it means to live in a residential area with businesses that don't provide parking.

Belmont residents can just get in their cars and drive on over.

How about tearing down that eyesore of an unfinished "hotel" on Water Street across from the parking garage and putting it there under a nice pavilion structure? Certainly would be better than what's (not) there now!!

How about bulldozing that public housing project just on the other side of the railroad tracks and getting something more useful out of that space. Rebuild the projects someplace where it will not be occupying prime real estate.

Love seeing the public weigh in on this topic! I have to believe that somewhere, very close, is a solution to this problem, and it's great to hear suggestions.

Shempdaddy - one of the biggest problems I have with the Court Square proposal is the proximity to Temple Beth Israel, and the parking and congestion issues that would be created by moving the market there. Temple services are on Saturday mornings - placing the market at the front door of the only synagogue in town is highly insensitive to the congregation who are trying to observe the sabbath.

We could have the Market in the Public Library buildings during off-hours. They are closed a lot because it costs money to keep them open and they don't serve any real purpose. Just a place for cheapskates to use the internet. s

If you have a comment or suggestion that you'd rather share with us via email, we'd invite you to submit it to marketcentral@bnsi.net

schools and parking lots are not the solution ,court square is not a good choice as well .we are the vendors of the city market my family started this market many years ago . the city market is a place for growers ,makers and crafters to come sell there wares we are an outdoors not under any roofs event it would be very nice to get other people involved with this project the coal tower downtown charlottesville would be a great solution to this problem vendors and buyers could have easy access to us and there would still be parking available at the lexus parking garage and downtown .I really dont quit understand why they all get upset about moving towards belmont come on people wake up we are talking about fresh local everything lets work together on solving this problem together maybe someone needs to ask every single one vendors and see what they have to say about a move or a solution to the problem .I personally have heard many different aspects to all of this lets ask local wealth about a new home

coal tower
the better living building lot
somewhere people can walk to easily

I do hope someone is looking into the possibility of acquiring the almost two-acre site of the former Charlottesville Lumber Company, a near level vacant lot since the old building's demolition late last year. While I'm sure that those at City Hall would like to see a massive mixed-use monstrosity there -- and perhaps another naked skeleton for our skyline in the event of failure? -- the owner claimed to have no development plan.

Located at the intersection of Garrett and Avon Streets, that location would be near the current one and the Mall, equally accessible on foot, and more easily accessible by vehicles via thoroughfares designed for heavier traffic including 64.

Kathy- During the years of negotiations with the neighborhood long before the pool at Meade Park was moved, the number one concern was that the Market not be displaced. If that was a possibility, then we would not support moving the pool to the front of the park. Everyone liked the open "village square" format of the Market and we wanted green space to remain at the entrance to the neighborhood. (Due to its small size, the park was never intended to be a regional one, but more a neighborhood-style park.)

Over and over again we were promised by P&R that not only would the Market continue to remain at Meade Park, but that they would make absolutely that the design of the facility would integrate with the existing Market, not only leaving plenty of room but also allowing the Market plenty of space to GROW. This was brought up too many times to count during the design process. We were assured that the Market aspect of the design was in the overall budget for the project. When P&R had us vote on the project, that was one of the primary conditions during the voting process. After we voted based on those conditions, P&R decided to circumvent the neighborhood as well as the support of the Councilors who attended one of the last the design meetings we had. Additionally, if the project had gone before the Planning Commission, which is what should happen with a project of this scope and size, then perhaps this would all be a moot point.

Unfortunately, quite a few of the other conditions have not been met either (screening, equipment, vegetation, etc). As a neighborhood that's proud of our strong agrarian roots-- lots of gardens, chickens, etc-- many of us in the Woolen Mills were very happy with the Market being located here. The onus is on P&R to make the Market work at Meade, even if that means they need to spend some of the money saved on the pool to make it happen. Perhaps they need to think outside of the box regarding where it could go on the property.

Has anyone discussed using the old Circus Grounds off of High Street? It's centrally located, flat and grassy, and abuts the Greenway (thus encouraging walking and biking). Much of it is floodplain, therefore shouldn't really be built on, so it seems like a good permanent home.

Thanks to everyone for weighing in with civil, constructive suggestions. This is the kind of conversation that will bring about the best possible solution.

AWRoades, I don't think it had been considered, but it will be now! Thank you for input, I'll add it to the list.

Leonard - the coal tower property is one that was suggested during the work session, and if the owner is inclined to consider it, we should explore it further.

Victoria - we should talk sometime! And I'm looking up the old Circus Grounds now.

Agree that McIntire Park would be great in terms of space, but I'm sure the city would like to funnel some business downtown. The current location is great because I can spend my entire morning wandering around downtown.

Got it, AWR - thank you.

Thanks for the fill in Victoria. I like the Woolen Mills area, and much of the old downtown area that is supposedly on the wrong side of the tracks. If you enjoy it being at Meade, and the neighborhood does, I would think it could be a solution.

Elizabeth,

I am a strong supporter about having things like these markets in areas where people can walk to them, and the neighborhoods can utilize them. The problem occurs when these activities become endpoint destinations for those who refuse to do more than drive cars. Then the burden is placed on the residents, who receive little of the benefits of such activities.

I walk daily from the far part of Locust Avenue to downtown, and back again, doing different activities as well as working. Sometimes I walk as far as the little Belmont business district, sometimes Woolen Mills. Its a good healthy walk. 3 miles roundtrip on average. Often I notice vehicles parked along Locust, that look like residents, then parked daily down in Belmont, or the downtown area, where parking is very tight in both cases.

Why aren't these people walking like me? Some days you might need to drive, but every day? Are you that lazy? Why live downtown if you want to just drive to the other side of downtown?

That's my point, and any snarky comments about Belmont - not saying you - or Woolen Mills, or anything else really have no place.

Old Timer - nicely stated, thank you!

By the way, if anyone who has commented on this thread would be interested in meeting up and having a conversation about it, I'd be happy to set up a time/place - and even spring for coffee. If you're interested, please email marketcentral@bnsi.net.

Why is the city even involved with this? Vendors at the Market provide a service that they get paid for; if there is sufficient demand (and I have gone to the Market many times, and there is no shortage of customers) for a Market, why aren't the vendors coming up with the plan for it's location, and the cost of funding it?

If there isn’t any real reason to keep the market in the city limits, then I believe Darden Towe Park would be the next best location for a market. If the market itself is a draw, then either of those locations ought to do very well. Either would allow for growth in the future and either could also allow for a flea market which would draw many more people than currently come for the produce alone.

If there isn’t any real reason to keep the market in the city limits, then I believe Darden Towe Park would be the next best location for a market. If the market itself is a draw, then either of those locations ought to do very well.

Darden Towe ?

If the market can be shown to be something that the city has some real reason to be managing, then I’d suggest that the parking lot at Charlottesville High School be modified in whatever minimal way meets the needs of the market. If there isn’t any real reason to keep the market in the city limits, then I believe Darden Towe Park would be the next best location for a market. If the market itself is a draw, then either of those locations ought to do very well. Either would allow for growth in the future and either could also allow for a fleemarket which would draw many more people than currently come for the produce alone.

If the market can be shown to be something that the city has some real reason to be managing, then I’d suggest that the parking lot at Charlottesville High School be modified in whatever minimal way meets the needs of the market.

If the market can be shown to be something that the city has some real reason to be managing, then I’d suggest that the parking lot at Charlottesville High School be modified in whatever minimal way meets the needs of the market. If there isn’t any real reason to keep the market in the city limits, then I believe Darden Towe Park would be the next best location for a market. If the market itself is a draw, then either of those locations ought to do very well. Either would allow for growth in the future and either could also allow for a flea market which would draw many more people than currently come for the produce alone.