Grand Rapids Fulton Street Farmers Market fertile soil for $3M all-seasons market; plans unveiled

Deborah Johnson Wood

Grand Rapids' Midtown Neighborhood Association believes its Fulton Street Farmers Market is fertile ground for growing the 90-year-old open-air market into a $3 million all-season marketplace. The group unveiled its proposed plans for a LEED-certified market this week at a public event.

The proposed transformation of the market, 1147 E. Fulton St., maintains the rustic charm and warm-weather appeal with an open-air market with a permanent roof, a 2,000-square-foot building for year-round vendors, an expanded plaza, A.D.A.-compliant restrooms at both ends of the market and improved traffic flow.

"Rebuilding the plaza area where the Salvation Army sells hotdogs is tricky for foot and car traffic," says Christine Helms Maletic, an independent consultant leading the project. Maletic's involvement includes her service as Midtown board president and as project director of Midtown's Brikyaat Neighborhood Revitalization Plan.

"We're going to have an area to sit and eat, and we're hoping to get vendors to sell prepared foods," she says, adding that the new plaza area and the year-round building provide enough space for 10 to 12 more vendors than the market can accommodate now.

The new market will have about 250 parking spaces for customers and vendors – the same as the current market – but a new traffic pattern will allow cars access to either side of the market without having to exit the property.

"Right now, when you pull in, you're committed," Maletic says. "You have to go all the way down the market and out on the opposite street, then re-enter."

Sustainable aspects of the new plan include permeable paving, retaining 100 percent of the stormwater on-site and use of renewable energy sources such as rooftop wind turbines.

Maletic hopes to break ground in late 2011 provided the capital campaign is successful. A philanthropic feasibility study completed by Hopkins Fundraising Consulting in July indicates there is enough community support to finance the project.

Lott3Metz designed the proposed market.

Source: Christine Helms Maletic, Fulton Street Farmers Market; City of Grand Rapids press release

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Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at [email protected] Development News tips can be sent to [email protected]
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