Liberty Street Market reopening?

The City of Winston-Salem is pursuing a proposal from R and Company, LLC to reopen the Liberty Street Vendor’s Market.

Liberty Street Market reopening?
March 23
08:00 2017



The City of Winston-Salem is pursuing a proposal to once again make the Liberty Street Vendor’s Market into a venue for farmers to sell produce.

The market is comprised of two covered shelters the city built on a vacant Liberty Street lot it owns. The market, which cost $350,000 to design and build, opened in 2014 with farmers and other vendors selling their wares. The city contracted with Mercedes Miller’s Mercedes-Empowers Inc. to run it. Low vendor and costumer turnout resulted in the market closing and Miller ending her contract with the city in 2015.

Since then, it’s been run by the city’s Community Development Department and hosts community events. It’s used regularly for food distribution by Second Harvest Food Bank and for  activities by Cleveland Avenue Transformation Team and area churches.

During a meeting on Monday, March 20, the City Council finance committee gave staff approval to pursue an unsolicited proposal it received to reopen it as a farmers market for a six months trial period.

Mayor Pro Tempore Vivian Burke said she wanted to see the market become active again so the city could see a return on its investment. Council Member Denise “D.D.” Adams concurred.

“The people in the community want something there and they want it to be food related,” she said.

The proposal is from Ravonda Dalton-Rann’s event planning company R and Company, LLC. Dalton-Rann retired in 2016 after 15 years as the chancellor’s  executive assistant and university secretary at Winston-Salem State University (WSSU). She’s also helped organize events for The Chronicle.

Dalton-Rann said she was responsible for organizing major events at WSSU like homecoming, which featured a vendors market. She said she lives in the community and sees the market’s potential. She believes with proper marketing it could be a success, and has already been in con-tact with Forsyth County Cooperative Extension and local growers.

“There’s no reason it shouldn’t be as busy as any other farmers market,” said Dalton-Rann.

Her proposal to the city asks for $1,800 a month to manage the market, which will be open for at least two and half days a week. In addition to a farmers market, it will still be available for events. The proposal says R and Company will oversee marketing in cooperation with the city. It also says the market will have a strong social media presence, including a Facebook page, along with traditional advertising.

Also during this week’s finance committee meeting, other items were approved that will go to the full council for a vote on Monday, March 27:

*Contracting with USA Management to staff, train and supervise staff at the city’s pools. The cost to the city will not exceed more $240,860 annually. This will save the city money, and overall pay for lifeguards will be higher. The city will provide the company with a list of last year’s lifeguards and those who’ve expressed interest in being one this year.

*Participation of up to $1.65 million over 10 years for the redevelopment of the old GMAC property by Grubb Properties. The funds are a small percentage of the city tax revenue the project is expected to generate. The 18-story GMAC building will be used for office space and a business incubator. The city’s funds will go to demolish a six-story building on the property to make way for a 240-unit apartment building with possible ground floor retail space on Fourth Street. Rent for the units is expected to be between $1,000 and $1,100 with 30 percent dedicated to affordable workforce housing.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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