Court Square market?
On Monday night, August 24, City Councilors discussed the possibility of moving the Charlottesville City Market from the Water Street parking lots to Court Square, reports Rachana Dixit in the Daily Progress. The popular Saturday morning outdoor market, which showcases the area's local food artisans and craftspeople, has been held at the Water Street location for 15 years, but with as many as 100 vendors competing for space now, it's getting a little cramped. However, Councilors initiated the discussion by talking about how unattractive the parking lot location was, and that having the market under the trees and beside the historic buildings at court Square would be a "nicer experience," mayor Dave Norris told the DP.
However, while City Market Manager Stephanie Anderegg-Maloy told the DP she thought the Court Square location would be a more "beautiful," she called it a logistical "nightmare."
Indeed, as the DP story pointed out, streets would need to be closed, and parking is already tight around Court Square. Then, of course, there's the fact that the court house area is officially in Albemarle County. There was also talk of moving the market to the county parking lots on McIntire Road.
Absent from the discussion was a previous discussion about developing the privately-owned Water Street parking lots (the city owns a small portion) in a way that would embrace the Market, which led to a controversial $150,000 city-sponsored design contest in 2007. The contest yielded some pretty fancy designs concepts from firms as far away as Spain, but did not attract any willing investors.
So was the design contest for naught?
"Nope, we fully expect to continue that discussion once the economy picks up and development prospects for those lots improve," Norris tells the Hook. " The conversation about the City Market needs to happen regardless of what happens to the Water Street lots."