Liberty Market in transition once again

Liberty Market in transition  once again
December 28
05:00 2017

The city is once again considering its options for the Liberty Street Market after the contract with its latest manager ended.

The market consists of two shelters the city built on a lot it owns at 1591 N. Liberty St., which originally opened in October 2014 with a variety of farmers and other vendors, but closed the following year after low vendor and customer turnout. After that, the city continued to rent it out for various events.

This year, the city accepted an unsolicited proposal from RaVonda Dalton-Rann’s R and Company LLC, to once again hold a farmers market there. The contract was for $1,800 a month to manage the market for a six-month trial period, which ran out on Oct. 31. All revenue from vendor and rental fees went to the city.

The market reopened on Saturday, July 8, with a shelter full of urban farmers, most of whom were graduates of the Cooperative Extension’s Urban Farm school. Dalton-Rann said farmers came as they had produce, but that number decreased as time went on and fall approached.

She said she kept it open on Satrudays even if it was only for one or two farmers. She said individual farmers had loyal regular customers who’d come by to get their produce. She said she didn’t renew her contract because she wanted to focus on her busy event planning business, but said she enjoyed the experience and hoped the farmers market could continue under different management.

“Those farmers were a marvelous group of people,” said Dalton-Rann.

The Market continued to be rented for activities, such as church events and food distribution by Second Harvest Food Bank. However, Second Harvest ended its distribution and the unheated shelters aren’t currently being rented for other activities.

Evan Raleigh, the city’s director of Business Inclusion and Advancement, said this is a dormant time for the Market and a perfect opportunity to re-evaluate what can be done with it. He said city staff members are working to come up with a proposal in the coming months.

“It’s a great facility and I think we are trying to figure out how we can put it to its highest and best use,” said Raleigh.

He said that those interested in renting the facility can still contact Regina Hall with the Community Development Department at (336) 734-1238 while the Market is in its current transitionary phase.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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