Court Square market?

photophile-marketOn 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."

Read more on: city marketDave Norris


Could they put it under the existing pavillion, mall? There are nearby places for parking the buses. Seems there would be a place to also park vendor trucks??

"One final thought: let’s not make the market too perfect. It’s great to have something developed organically(sorry) by a disparate group of people be such a success."

I agree with "Locust Ave. Guy" on this point.

I like the market in it's current location. The Court Square idea is nice as well IF it would work...which it doesn't sound like it will.

Since the city is spending millions on transit, why not use it? The trolley (free) loops around the Mall.

The parking problems I noticed most was numerous trucks the merchants used to carry their goods to the pool. There wouldn't be room for these trucks alone in Court Square.

Parking available at Court Square ? What a joke !

Why don't you just buy some ad space instead of comment spamming?

I noticed the market parking at the Meade Avenue Pool last night appeared to be worse than any day of swimming parking. There's not room for this in Court Square.

The same parking that is used for Water Street can be used for Court Square and Jackson Park. Its a small matter of blocks and the walk will do most people good. After all, what is Court Square used for on Saturdays?

I like Mr./Ms. Four Asterisks' idea: split the market between Water Street and Lee Park. I agree that the non-farmer/crafts vendors could be sorted out from the farmer vendors. Court Square is a good idea except for Temple Beth Israel has complained that it would impact their ability to get on-street parking during their services/activites on Saturday. Lee Park has some shade and would mean that the market would "straddle" the Mall. The special events that they have in Lee Park currently e.g. International Festival, Vegetarian Festival, could be moved to Court Square, which is pretty dead during the weekend.

Why not make the City Market a true "farmers market" and move the craft vendors and locally owned food wholesalers over to Lee Park or Court Square instead of letting them piggy-back on the successful Water St location for which actual farmers are mostly responsible? By diversifying locations, the argument could be made that half of the customers will park at one site and walk to the other (particularly if the other is Lee Park as its within sight almost..)and vice-versa, allieviating parking concerns.

real farmers markets (e.g., those in california) don't have craft vendors. move them to the mall next to the smelly lady with the sunglasses!

Lest you think that the City is actually pocketing that $1.1 mil in sales.... think again. The City receives a small percentage fee from each vendor, based on their sales for any given day. Collection of vendor fees keeps the market operating in the black - all the operating expenses of the market are covered. Sales revenue from the farmers market goes directly to the producers at the market. However, the city benefits greatly by having the market downtown. Spillover to the adjacent 'brick and mortar' businesses is considerable, and would be affected, if not lost, with a move to a different venue.

All I'm saying.... there are enough people and organizations in this town that have valid opinions, concerns and ideas -- wouldn't it be nice to have some kind of public forum to discuss the options?

NOT the County Office Building!!! Hey isn't it called the City Market? and not the county market??
Go for the Court Square area. Would increase foot traffic and business.
People would mostly need to drive to the county office building. Too dangerous to easily walk across McIntire RD.

I don't see any responses on here so far from apparent vendors at the City Market, whose input and concerns should be considered before just plopping the market down in another 'makeshif' location. The market manager is correct in saying that the Court Square location would be a logistical nightmare. In order to attract quality produce vendors to a farmers market, they have to be able to get their vehicles in the venue, and I don't see how that could possibly happen in/around the Court Square location.

Let's think for a minute about the potential for Charlottesville to have a REAL farmers market. What I'm talking about here is a permanent structure that would offer protection from the elements, running water... bathrooms... the potential to operate more than one day a week. If we, as a community, are willing to pledge our support for local producers, shouldn't we pledge our support to establishing a permanent venue to bring those goods to market? Would it be possible to use the current site, with grading/surfacing changes, to build an open air pavillion to house the market?

I think that this is an excellent time to have an open discussion about a real, permanent solution -- and NOT simply to move it to another 'make-do' location. C'mon Mr. Huja and Mr. Norris -- let's talk seriously.

"Then, of course, there’s the fact that the court house area is officially in Albemarle County." The courthouse site may be in the county but I've never anything about the property surrounding it was in the property. The park, for example, is controlled by the city.
"Indeed, as the DP story pointed out, streets would need to be closed and parking is already tight around Court Square." What streets do they close for the other festivals they have had there, such as Jefferson's Thanksgiving?
"Absent from the discussion was a previous discussion about developing the privately-owned Water Street parking lots (the city owns a small portion)..." It is my understanding that the metered lot is completely owned by the city. The idea that the metered lot and the CPC-owned "flat" lot needed to be developed together, the basis for that useless contest, was Maurice Cox'S.
I keep seeing $1.1 million used. Does that amount represent the total annual sales or the total annual sales taxes paid to the city?

Unfortunately, the city does not control the Pavillion, some corporation owned by Coran Capshaw does. The City would have to rent the space from the renter. It will be the same with the Boys & Girls Club, the YMCA, and the wonderful, beautiful new botanical garden.

what about the U-Hall parking lot? plenty of parking, easy access and pretty central

Courtsquare is a joke, agreed. Also like the idea of separating the crafts from the farmers market...

*****, the good thing, at least, is that the parking situation @ Meade only lasts for 4 hours on Wednesdays. I think the Market should be moved to the back portion of the park, immediately after you go over the creek. The parking lot would hold the vendors, and some overflow could go on the street.

P&R should provide an easy way for the vendors to unload their trucks and get the goods that short distance-- either w/ large carts or some other means. That would eliminate parking and re-parking, and would then free up enough on-street parking for the customers. Not a perfect solution, but perhaps better than what they have now.

You would think the City Council might have had the discussion about moving the market to Court Square before a fortune was spent on the last facelift of the area. That might have solved most if not all of the problems they face there. Too busy with crap ideas like giving away money for that stupid Water Street competition. The real owners will hire who they want when the time comes to develop and the city will have little to say in the matter.

We're a frequent visitor of the City Market. Right now, the current location is fantastic, but it's bursting at the seems. A move to Court Square would benefit everyone, while still maintaining the central location for everyone to take advantage of.

How about we move the City Market to the County Office Building where it belongs.

Why should the City earn $1.1 million from farmers who live in Albemarle County and other rural areas?

All the City is doing is sucking the life out of the County. First with $19+ million in revenue-sharing and now $1+ million for the market. The County was cutting its budget to the bone while the City rebricked the Mall.

Doesn't anyone else see what the problem is?

Charlottesville has a bad case of "entitlement."

Betty is right. Mostly. Everybody get behind Betty on this. The County Office building--formerly the Lane School--is perfect. Plenty of lawn to set up tents, and lots of parking. About the same walking distance for current customers of the Farmer's Market on Water Street. That's the key: walking. You can't walk to U Hall. You can walk to Court Square or Lee Park, but the farmers have no place to park trucks. Also--the park grass will not stand up to that much traffic every single week. It takes Lee Park's lawn two weeks to recover from "Vegetarian Fest."

I don't know where Betty's figures come but the County office building is city property so whatever the sales tax revenues, the City will still suck them up. But space and a convenient walking location are key.

Not so sure about separating out crafts. I think the food vendors are grateful that craft booths separate them from the next vendor with identical tomatoes. And the often quirky crafts add to the general festiveness.

quote: "That’s the key: walking. You can’t walk to U Hall. You can walk to Court Square or Lee Park..."

Is there some reason you believe that all market customers live within walking distance of Court Square and Lee Park?

The Temple folks need to work with the majority of people who want to shop on Saturday. Older churches downtown need to realize that a vibrant business community is needed in this economy. Downtown belongs to the public and not to a religious group. Remember separation of church and state.

First, "suggest" makes no sense at all.

Second, instead of "moving" the city's farmer market to the County Office Building, why couldn't Albermarle County just start their own farmers market on the site? Then local farmers/businesses/craftsmen could figure out if they wanted to do the city's the county's (both?) and the density of vendors wouldn't be such a problem.

hmmmm... retrofitting a parking deck? I don't think so.

I think Betty Bartlett has good ideas. That City Market is not a farmer's market. The crafts dand bake sales people were there when it was housed at the corner of Ridge and South streets and at Jefferson School. It started out as just an "recreational" activity setup by the Parks & Rec division. Now it seems people are proposing that it become a money-making proposition at tax payers'expense for a few people. I knew that was soon to happen. Yet, there is a governing committee who takes it upon itself to determine as to whom can participate as a vendor and who can't. If it is to remain a city-run "acitivity", then the participants do not need for the City to turn over multimillion-dollar property strictly for a handful of people's use for something that is pretty much equivalent to a hobby. Nobody is earning a living there.
That handful of people could fit into Court Square quite nicely and there is no reason to stretch it past Jackson Park so it shouldn't have any effect upon Temple at all. As for trucks, they go through there everyday and I believe they can get through there on Saturday mornings just fine.
If people desire it to become a money-making proposition, then they should go private and find their own place of business. Several people who participated in P&R's ceramics club have done just that at their own expense.
I lost my friendship with a vendor about 10 years ago by expressing my views and I'm sure I'm not any getting any love here, either; however, with people losing their jobs, their homes and their places of business, I say to those who expect a grand facility funded the tax payers', please look for your welfare elsewhere than in my pocket.

I like where the market is. Not everyone walks there, but plenty of people do. And if it's unattractive, well why not make it more attractive? There used to be whiskey barrels filled with flowers and plants on Second St and South St. Get rid of the weeds, run the streetsweeper through the lot before the farmer's trucks arrive, seal the asphalt and repaint the parking lines. It'll at least be neater, and seems a lot easier than shifting the whole thing.

If more space is needed, close off First and Second St and put vendors there. Maybe the craftspeople who don't need to have their car there(and most of them don't - look at the guys on the mall)could set up on the streets. You could probably fit 15 or 20 vendors on Second St. alone, in a location that wouldn't seem like they were being pushed aside.

I've never bought a t-shirt or a stool at the market, but I like having those vendors(and the musicians, and the prepared food and coffee guys). Maybe spaces should be alloted on the basis of the fees collected by the city so farmers are more likely to be in decent spots. If there are too many little guys raise the fee to sell in the market(it could be refundable when you hit a certain sales level). One thing that's certain is the craftspeople will have a much more difficult time selling their items at a different location blocks away.

One final thought: let's not make the market too perfect. It's great to have something developed organically(sorry) by a disparate group of people be such a success.

Hhy not the top deck of the Water Street parking garage? Great views, decent location, lots of parking below.

uhm, I meant Why not

Mike -
It's just not visible from the street, and it needs visibility to continue to attract visitors. Besides, some of the vendor's trucks that need entry are too tall to navigate that structure.

@ Mike; The reason I am told they can't use the top level of the Water Street garage, which I think would be great, is because the ramps don't have enough clearance for the farmerss trucks. Could that be fixed, I wonder?