The Charlottesville City Market rang up a record $1.2 million in 2009, more than six times what the market generated when it first moved to the Water Street lot in 1993. What’s more, 2010 will be the first year the market will accept food stamps and debit cards, which may spur more growth.
The Charlottesville City Market has called the Water Street parking lot home since 1993, but the city has looked at redeveloping the space at times. “I don’t think it’s the kind of thing that you can just plop some place,” says Cecile Gorham, chairwoman of local nonprofit Market Central.
However, some vendors feel that despite the market’s substantial growth, its future—namely, assuring it a more permanent location—is not a priority within city government.
“I don’t think it’s the kind of thing that you can just plop some place, and sometimes we get the feeling that that’s what’s being done,” says Cecile Gorham, a former vendor and chairwoman of the nonprofit group Market Central, which includes roughly 30 vendors.
The city owns the portion of the lot that hosts the market and, although it has never formally put the lot up for sale, it has examined ways that the space can be redeveloped. City Council briefly addressed the market’s plight last August. Councilors suggested Court Square and the Albemarle County Office Building lot on McIntire Road as possible new homes. According to Gorham, however, more thoughtful, inclusive debate is needed.
“I’m not against moving,” she said. “I just think that if you do, you have to have some compelling reasons and a long-term plan in place.”
Although Gorham supposes that the recession has slowed that examination, she wants to ensure that the market’s fate gets proper attention long before any development plans are sketched.
“You’re talking about as many as 90 vendors and 4,000 customers, and to just willy-nilly move them around—you want to look out for the long-term interest and you don’t want to be moving it around again when it doesn’t work out,” she said.
Current vendors have varying levels of concern, but the consensus among those with whom C-VILLE spoke was that they don’t have the time to devote to the market’s big picture.
“Great municipal leadership would be helpful on this issue,” said jam vendor Daniel Perry. “It’s difficult for the market community to confront this, and it’s telling that the people who are spearheading this effort are involved more on the conceptual level than they are with getting up at 5am to make their living selling product.”
Christine Solem, co-owner of Satyrfield Farm in Albemarle County, said she doesn’t mind the market’s current non-institutionalized feel. Solem, whose stand is known for its donation-only goat cheese, is not worried about the market’s future.
“We try to stay out of the big-picture planning,” she said. “Our general opinion is that [the market] is not going anywhere.”
Other vendors, such as the Bertoni family of Appalachia Star Farm, would like to see a more permanent arrangement.
“A covered structure would help,” said Kathryn Bertoni. “Weather dramatically affects our sales. A rainy weekend at the market hurts a lot.” Contacted for comment, Charlottesville Pavilion manager Kirby Hutto said that no one has spoken to him about use of the Pavilion for the market, but hypothetically he could “see some logistical issues as far as getting vendors in and out.”
Michael Bertoni pointed out that Charlottesville needs to leverage its “world-class” reputation and consider a roofed pavilion. Scottsville and Harrisonburg have recently built pavilions for their markets, he noted. “I think with Charlottesville being the city that it is, it’s time for a permanent structure, built specifically for the market.”
C-VILLE Weekly is seeking submissions for our photo contest, presented by LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph—specifically creative, high-quality images of local scenes (and people in local scenes!). Prizes will be awarded, and winners will be published in the June 8 issue of C-VILLE, alongside
On a pleasantly wet Wednesday evening in late April, 60-odd people congregated at Trinity Presbyterian Church for the third public meeting about the Ragged Mountain Natural Area and its future. One of the many issues to be decided is who gets to use the park, now restricted to hikers and
All this time we’ve been looking at the wrong house? Ever notice that President James Monroe’s house seemed like the poor cousin compared with the more palatial digs of his fellow prezes Thomas Jefferson and James Madison? Now we learn that the humble abode at recently renamed Ash Lawn-Highland
Between the Corner and downtown Charlottesville, five hotel projects are in the works—and that doesn’t include the recently opened Residence Inn on the corner of West Main Street and Ridge-McIntire Road, nor Graduate Charlottesville, which opened last year. City and tourism officials say this
City Council unanimously approved a Blue Ribbon Commission on Race, Memorials and Public Spaces May 2 after a Charlottesville High School student presented a petition to remove the statue of General Robert E. Lee and rename Lee Park in March. The nine-member commission will look not only at
On the second day of his jury trial, prominent realtor Andrew Middleditch, 56, pleaded guilty to his second DUI offense and entered an unexpected Alford plea before the closing statements related to his involuntary manslaughter charge, which came from a Memorial Day car crash that killed
Historic week, part 1 Governor Terry McAuliffe restores voting rights to 206,000 felons April 22 in an election year in which his friend Hillary Clinton is running for president, and in a state where an estimated one in four African-Americans can’t vote because of felony convictions, according
In Charlottesville, an ordinance exists to protect historic properties, but in Albemarle County, there’s no such luck. And one woman is hoping to save three old buildings on a county farm that was in her family for several generations. Andrew Jackson Dawson served in the 5th Virginia Cavalry
Going with the flow Rivanna River Company will launch Charlottesville’s first outfitter By Jessica Luck firstname.lastname@example.org When Gabe and Sonya Silver moved back to Charlottesville three years ago after various stints in other places working in the outdoor recreation field, they settled in the
The high-end realtor charged with involuntary manslaughter and his second drunk driving offense for killing an elderly driver in a Memorial Day car crash last year stands trial in Albemarle Circuit Court. On April 26, a 12-person jury made of nine women and three men was selected to hear
The participants at an upcoming April 28 panel likely would not cite Jackie’s unsubstantiated story of gang rape to Rolling Stone reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely as the biggest issue facing journalists covering sexual assault. For ProPublica’s T. Christian Miller, it’s police not believing
The man charged with brutally beating to death special education teacher Robin Aldridge and her daughter, Mani, and then setting their Rugby Avenue home on fire in December 2014, appeared before a judge for a motions hearing April 21. One of his three attorneys argued that he’s at a
If you’ve ever wanted to recycle the plastic bag inside of your box of Cheerios but didn’t quite know how, a Charlottesville-based initiative called How2Recycle could be your saving grace. In the spirit of Earth Day, here’s a bit more about the project created by a three-person team
Bank of America is closing its location on the Downtown Mall February 17, branch customers learned by letter April 20. “What, we’re closing?” a teller there asked this morning when she heard a colleague inform a customer on the phone. Built in 1916, the structure was
“The answer to speech you don’t like is more speech, not censorship.” That was Josh Wheeler’s message to an April 20 gathering for the 10th anniversary of the Free Speech Wall on the Downtown Mall. And it’s a message directed to colleges and universities, 50 of which were the recipients of the
City Manager Maurice Jones announced Lexington Police Chief Al Thomas as his pick to head the Charlottesville Police Department, and City Council approved Thomas, who is the city’s first black police chief, April 18. Thomas was one of 63 applicants, says Jones, in a search that was “deep” and
Local craft brewery Devils Backbone announced on social media it was being sold to Anheuser-Busch InBev at 10:35am on April 12. By noon, the court of public opinion had tried and convicted the Nelson County company of selling out. Brewery ownership was a bunch of “cowards.” They were “greedy,”
Eramo v. Jackie Former UVA dean Nicole Eramo fought for months to get discredited “A Rape on Campus” source Jackie deposed for her defamation suit against Rolling Stone. That finally happened April 7, and now Eramo wants the court to throw out “personal attacks” Jackie allegedly made during the
City Council heard from around three dozen people at its marathon five-hour April 18 hearing on the statue of General Robert E. Lee and the forming of a blue ribbon commission on race, memorials and public spaces. Much like the citizens that spoke before them, the councilors found themselves
In an effort to “Save Lee Park,” the Virginia Flaggers hosted an April 18 rally in front of the park’s General Robert E. Lee monument to advocate for keeping the historic statue in place, after the group made their opposition to removing it known at a rally last month, which was hosted by