Sunday, May 27, 2012

How Can You Build This Overnight?

Charlotte is a city that is rushing to have everything.  The vision of Hugh McColl of Charlotte becoming a 24 hour a day city was a bold vision, and one that is actually happening.  Pedestrian traffic on the downtown streets is heavier than it has ever been, and that is steadily increasing.

People from all over continue to move to Charlotte and call it home.  Current estimates point to our employment levels approaching the high water mark of 2008, certainly a sign that we are recoving. 

A goal that Charlotte has, lead by Center City Partners, is to develop a Public Market on Seventh Street at the site of the former Reid's downtown.  Rushed to open in December of 2011 due to contractual obligations, the market has seen some modest, very modest, success. A new Grand Opening took place a few weeks ago, complete with events, new merchants, and great food.

Cleveland's West Side Market
But the problem remains how do you instill a habit into a population that has other habits?

As Charlotte is made up of a lot of people from all over, many of us have visions of what the market should look like.  My particular vision is from Cleveland's West Side Market.  I recently came across an article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer (go here for the article) celebrating the 100th year of operation.

The article contains pictures and statistics and graphs and simulated models and stories from  the patrons and vendors over the years.  One can't help but read the article and want to be there. Every trip I make to Cleveland includes a trip to the West Side Market.

The point of this article is to show that they have a 100 year head start on us.  They have had their good times and bad times.  They have seen their neighborhood change several times, and they have had 100 years to develop it. 

My hopes are that 100 years from now someone will be talking about our Public Market in the same light.  The key to making that happen is to go to the market and patronize it.

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