Charlottesville Gives 100K to Freshen Up the City Market
A new and improved City Market is in the works and the city of Charlottesville is forking out nearly $100,000 to get plans underway. They are paying a Maine urban planning firm to study the possibility of creating a downtown market district.
There has been talk for a while now about bringing a market district to Charlottesville. A City Market Task Force has been tossing around ideas since last December about where the market's permanent home should be.
Now that the task force has decided downtown is the best location, the details are in the hands of the urban planning firm.
In the summertime, about 5,000 people a week visit the City Market and all of that shopping makes around $1 million worth of sales every season.
Brevy Cannon, a member of the Charlottesville Market District Alliance, says the new market would feel like one the city can take pride in.
"It's going to be a market that clearly has pride of place in our downtown, whereas you know compared to now where it gets a parking lot with no support whatsoever, I mean it's just clear out the cars on Saturday," he said.
The City Market Task Force talked about moving the market to a city park. But in the end they decided the market's current downtown location, with the addition of an infrastructure, is ideal.
City officials say keeping the market downtown will allow people to shop at the market and then wander to shops and restaurants after.
Charlottesville Vice Mayor Kristen Szakos said, "You have … the symbiotic relationship between the market and the surrounding businesses and apartments to create a kind of buzz in a neighborhood."
City officials say having local land planners and developers on the team will create a market that fits with Charlottesville.
"I think sometimes people worry that you know the city spends money on studies that end up on a shelf someplace, and I think it's our real determination that does not happen," said Szakos.
The urban planning committee will be working on what they hope will be a new City Market until March or April of next year. It will be a transparent process with public meetings for the community to give their ideas and input.