(03/13/13) - Wednesday, the Flint Farmers Market gave the community a chance to
weigh in on the design for its new location.
Last week, the Farmers Market announced it's moving to downtown Flint inside the old Flint Journal Printing Press Building.
Flint Farmers Market officials pitched their plan to move the market from its Boulevard Drive location to its new one in downtown Flint on First Street. They shared their vision with customers and vendors.
"It's an exciting moment for the customers to come and the vendors to interact and to decide what the market will look like in the future," said Ridgeway White, of Uptown Redevelopment Corporation.
The new food hub will expand to 32,000 square feet - a few highlights include a demonstration kitchen and a community room.
There will be plenty of space inside for year-round shopping and of course the traditional outside market with fruit and veggie vendors that so many have to come to enjoy in Flint.
Shoppers and vendors placed stars on which pictures they liked the most. That will help designers come up with a blueprint for the inside of the market.
Despite some people who are a bit nostalgic about the old market and would rather see it stay at its current location, market officials are hopeful the new market will serve the community well into the future.
"The key is how do you take the entrepreneurial spirit, that creativity in Flint, and re-inject into the market? When I say the market, the existing vendors, existing customers to get them excited again about the market on an ongoing basis, that's what we want to do, build success," White said.
Myron Manns lives and works in downtown Flint. He especially likes the market's look toward the future.
"It's a vision that goes beyond present day. Sometimes when we renovate a place, it's something we want for ourselves and we don't look beyond our own lifespan. This is something that could go on for centuries," he said.
He was among other shoppers and vendors Wednesday checking out the latest drawings of what the inside of the market could look like. A single star indicated a favorable idea.
"It's going to be difficult to narrow it down and figure out which ones to put stars on. I kinda want to put a star on everything," he said.
Sandra Weston is a market vendor. Charlie's Smokin' Bar-B-Q is excited for year-round business.
"I'm a visual person, so I like seeing the ideas and the things coming to pass. You can identify with what you really like, what you don't like, what you can see, how far we've grown as well," she said. "I like the market's idea with diversity with the foods. In the summer time, you're out there with so many different kinds of foods, with so many vendors, but that ends, but now we can continue that."
But there are still some customers who aren't sold on the idea of moving the market.
"I looked at some of the pictures. It looks interesting," said Mike Keeler. "I want to keep an open mind, but I have a lot of questions - about parking, about the other place being so big, will they have to retro fit it? And those costs, will they go to the vendors, and then get passed on to customers?"
The market plans to only take up half off of the old printing press facility - the other half they hope to rent out.
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