Saturday, December 5, 2009
A Good Idea For City Market Vendors
A chat with Roanoke City Councilman David Trinkle during a lull at an event today turned up an interesting idea from him regarding the Roanoke City Market vendors who are feeling a pretty distinct level of anger at Roanoke these days. They've been expressing their strong disapproval of the city's plans to shut down the building in order to do a major renovation, effectively closing their businesses for a year to a year and a half.
They have good reason to be mad because this has not been handled as well as it could have been and the city has made mistake after mistake in its approach to major market renovations and even closing the building because of an infestation of mice.
Fact is, though, that this renovation is at the heart of any future the City Market has as an economic driver for downtown. With all the development in the center of the city, the Market becomes more important with each different building upfit surrounding the center of the city. That's why, as important as these vendors have been in the past, they cannot be allowed to be the determining factor as we move forward.
It's hard for me to say that because I know most of the restaurateurs and eat at their businesses on a regular basis. They're good people, salt of the earth and they deserve consideration. But they can't be allowed to stop or even delay the renovation.
An option has apparently been opened to these restaurant owners by Tanglewood Mall, which, according to Roanoke's daily newspaper (whose name escapes me) would like to re-open a food court with the market vendors at the core. David suggests that if that is the case, "The city should pay their moving expenses to go to Tanglewood and, if they decide to move back to the Market Building when it re-opens, the city pays the moving expenses back."
We're talking a few thousand dollars spent and a bizillion dollars worth of good will (something in short supply these days) and public relations. This is not a solution that will negate all the ill will that has built up in recent months, but it's a good idea that should be considered strongly.