June 2, 2014
Charlottesville City Council heard feedback from the public Monday night on proposals for the new City Market design. Council has to decide between four possible mixed use designs for the space.
There was a big turnout and there seemed to be heavy support in favor of one design, especially from vendors.
The Charlottesville City Market is an institution. But what to do with it for the future has been hashed out countless ways in recent years. The overwhelming support among the commenters was for a design called "Market Square" that was mostly open space. Vendor Rachel Williamson showed her support for that design by showing council a petition with 90 signatures of current vendors and 115 market customers.
"It is the only design that gives us full vehicle access to bring our wares in as we currently do. If we cannot get our produce into market, we cannot sell it to our customers, and it’s really as simple as that."
Vendor Ben Stowe said that he supported a new design, but it was important that councilors make sure that they kept open the market for vendors during construction.
"You know it's a very important source of income for us... If the market were to close, or space were to be taken away we would feel like we were losing our jobs, some people want the city to maintain ownership of the space.”
Some people wanted to see the city maintain ownership of the space.
"As much as it’s going to affect what we do on Saturday mornings, I think it’s important the city maintain ownership or at least control over a significant portion of the property. City control over a significant portion of the property would allow for expansion and ultimate non-market uses on days other than Saturday.”
Other concerns ranged from parking issues, vendor access concerns, supporting local agriculture, and maintaining at least the same amount of vendor space.
But some people were just happy to see the project moving towards a home.
Councilors listened to feedback and plan on making a decision at their next meeting.
The Charlottesville City Market is held on Saturday mornings from April through December and has over 100 vendors this year.