City reviews sale for potential downtown farmers market

9:00 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018 News
Springfield City Commission held the first reading of the sale for a Springfield building that ,may become the new site for an indoor farmer’s market. Bill Lackey/Staff

A historic building in downtown Springfield may become the new indoor, retail space for a farmer’s market.

Springfield city commissioners have submitted a 14-day ordinance to approve the sale of Myers Market, at 101 South Fountain Avenue, to SpringForward for $100,000 according to a request for commission action by Assistant City Manager and Director of Economic Development Tom Frazen.

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The site was once used by United Senior Services before the agency moved to another location downtown.

“I began an intentional process to engage the community , hired a consultant to try and find the best use for the Meyer’s Market facility,” Frazen said.

A City Market Committee was established with members that include the city of Springfield, the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Clark County Combined Health District, the Ohio State University Extension Office, nonprofit SpringForward and vendors to see how to redevelop the space.

Within the past year, some members of the group visited North Market, a public market in Columbus, to do research on what a similar market could look like in the area. They also looked at Second Street Market in Dayton and Wooster-based Local Roots. The group found the old market had potential.

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“It was identified as one of those kind of exciting uses that could spur economic development as well as draw people to downtown Springfield,” Frazen said.

Springfield resident Kristy Springhetti has lived in the city since 2007 and she goes to the local farmer’s market during the year.

“It’s great the opportunity that we get to go see local businesses, local people having all of their products and we get to try fresh produce, fruit, veggies,” she said.

She is excited about the plans and believes it will create more opportunities for people in the area.

“It will feature a commercial kitchen a shared use kitchen as well as a retail space around the perimeter of the facility and then just kind of a co-op space to spur food-related entrepreneurial activities,” Frazen said.

The plan is for the retail space to become a year-round farmer’s market. The city hopes it will spur additional businesses and people to the downtown area.

There were two markets in Springfield this year. One was held at Mother Stewart’s Brewing Company, 109 West North St., while plans were being developed.. It featured locally-grown, locally-produced and handmade goods from about 15 different vendors, depending on response, this past winter.

Chris Shutte, with the Greater Chamber of Springfield, said SpringForward’s focus on the “downtown core – which may eventually include downtown residential living – is vital to the future of our community.”

The city commissioners will hold a second reading on Feb. 29 to approve the sale of market to SpringForward.