17th Street Farmers’ Market
4/5/2019, 10:34 p.m.
Who should Richmond residents see about a partial refund of the $3.6 million in taxpayers’ dollars spent on what was supposed to be a rehab of the 17th Street Farmers’ Market?
The plan, which took years to come up with and now even longer to complete, was supposed to turn the pergola-covered marketplace in Shockoe Bottom into a year-round public market of food, crafts and other items, complete with benches and a promenade along 17th Street to stretch from Main Street to Broad Street. But right now, it just looks like a big concrete slab with a string of lights draped across it from poles.
And the longtime produce vendors who have kept the market, started in 1779, an actual market are sparse and have been neglected by city agencies and others, including Enrichmond, that have a bigger vision for the area, but a clear inability to make it happen.
Because of that, we believe the taxpayers are owed a refund, and another entity should be brought in to turn the marketplace into a vibrant reality.
With the promise of better weather, we hope the inaugural Richmond Night Market on Saturday, April 13, will be a success. While only a monthly event, we believe it can be broadened.
The original “Richmond Night Market,” started in 2000 in Richmond, British Columbia, in Canada draws crowds of more than 30,000 on weekend evenings throughout the summer, with people enjoying food from all over the world. It is a showcase of art, culture and shopping, which our Richmond could also use.
We believe RVA can start out small and do likewise with the confluence of food, art and music brought here by a variety of people from various cultures.
We give props to Adrienne Cole Johnson and Melody Short for coming up with the local concept. We hope the City of Richmond and its people will give them the support they need to turn the 17th Street Farmers’ Market into the vibrant place everyone wants.