City Market Vendors React to Proposed Location Changes
City Market vendor Cynthia Viejo
Some vendors at Charlottesville's City Market are not happy about proposed changes to the market's location. It's been a hot topic for years, but this week city council decided to open up the floor for ideas about what to do with the parking lot.
Many of the vendors agreed the Water Street site is the ideal spot for the market. They say they fear moving the market will mean fewer patrons, less space and more problems.
Moving the City Market to Garrett Street is one option city council is considering, but vendor Cynthia Viejo isn't on board.
"The lot is way too narrow, it's right next to the railroad tracks, it just it doesn't, it won't accommodate," she said.
Building a market space on Garrett Street would cost $1.7 million.
Another option would allow a developer to put the market underneath a building which would be built on the Water Street parking lot site. Viejo says she agrees with other vendors who spoke up at Monday night's city council meeting.
"Don't make it another big building, a big parking garage, a big whatever that's, you know we have plenty of those down here," she said.
The director of Charlottesville Parks and Recreation would not allow the City Market manager to comment about the proposed changes.
The vendors on the other hand, aren't holding back. Michael Clark's "Planet Earth Diversified" booth has been at the market since 1983. He says the Water Street location brings in the largest crowd.
"We are 10 or 20 times the business at this location then when we use to move down on the mall," he said.
Clark says he thinks the market would still be successful if the site became mixed-use, as long as it remained at parking lot level and did not skirt around the entire building.
Vendors say they also don't like the idea of the Garrett Street location because shoppers would have to walk up and down a long strip rather than a compact area.
There is currently no deadline for council to make a decision.
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